Friday, November 13, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Belief" (#2.23)

Maya doesn't believe in God, therefore she doesn't "believe in anything." Lemme just check the math there... I see... yes... Yes, it's all coming together...
OH.

WAIT.

THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL. It was the exact same thing in Cult Fiction (with the same script writer, actually, Jeff Menell). Shawn isn't sure if he believes in God, therefore he has "no beliefs." 


Off the top of my head, list of things Maya believes in:
-The power of friendship
-Love
-Her mother's perseverance
-The value of art
-As of last week, the power of forgiveness
-Herself, more and more as time goes by.

But no, Riley, the closest friend imaginable, says that Maya doesn't believe in anything. She literally says to her face, "Then why won't you believe in anything?" How can you be so condescending? It seriously bothers me on a personal level. And don't come in here defending it like "Oh she meant 'why don't you believe in God'." She could have very easily just said that if that's what they meant. 

They have immediately lost me. Their premise is faulty. Which is weird, since the opening was full of potential. Looking at the differences between Riley and Maya gives us some of the best episodes, and I was hooked on their differing philosophy about finding money on the ground. But... somehow that led us to the belief assignment... I honest to goodness do not understand why they used this opening.

Resulting from the preceding analysis, this episode has received a penalty for "Flagrant Character Assassination" of one "Maya Hart." As such, Girl Meets Belief is ineligible for any grade in the A or B range.
He can't help you now, Riley.

No one can.

QQ, that stands for quick question, WHERE DOES THOMAS JEFFERSON COME IN? Why are Maya and Riley doing a report on Thomas Jefferson when the question was what they personally as individuals believe in? WHAT IS THOMAS JEFFERSON? Does Cory want to know if they believe in Thomas Jefferson? I'm gonna go ahead and guess that they probably do.

They probably believe in Thomas Jefferson.

If the word "flabbergasted" suddenly turned into a person, it would be me. The worst part is that this first classroom scene teases you. Farkle looks like the skeptic and Lucas looks like the guy who just wants to mind his own business with the line "I have beliefs that work for me." I was pleased to see Lucas in that spot, but he unfortunately does not stay there (which is why we were teased), as we'll see later.


As you can see, I'm pulling these screenshots from Glare The Bootleg because there still aren't any high quality links up at 11 EST and I'm tired of waiting.

I'm stealing this observation from Christian because he won't be joining us tonight, but Cory claims that Jefferson died over 200 years ago. That is not true, Cory. Thomas Jefferson died in 1826. You're a terrible teacher, Cory.

At home, it's even worse. Auggie is evidently speaking to someone and doesn't want to explain it to his mother. There are two natural reactions to this, in an episode about believing in God. "Oh Auggie's talking to God, that's cute." Well, no, he's not. You've been tricked. Or "Oh, Auggie's talking to God, that's annoying." Well, no, he's not. You've been tricked.

The only conclusion is that this Auggie story was written with the pure intent of tricking the viewer. But why? Why do that? I don't want to be tricked, I didn't come here to be tricked. 

Let's just deal with the entire Auggie story now so I can focus on the main story. It turns out he's talking to Mrs. Svorski, the old bakery owner who probably killed herself. I don't think anyone uses the word "heaven" but he's trying to talk to her in heaven. Maturo really really sucks in this, but you didn't come here to listen to me make fun of a ten year old. Or if you did, hey, leave a comment, I'll try to accommodate you. So instead of bashing this stuff, let's take a big step back and ask a super important question.
Who.
Is this.
For?

'Cause it's not for me. It is not for us diehard BMW fans. It ain't for the people who just watched Bunk'd and it ain't for the people waiting for Austin and Ally to start. It ain't for the Rucas shippers or the Lucaya shippers. And it sure as hell ain't for the people flipping through channels. So who is it for? IS IT FOR THOMAS JEFFERSON, CORY? TOO BAD, HE DIED OVER 500 YEARS AGO.

Is it for the parents? Not my parents, but maybe for somebody's saccharine Leave It To Beaver parents to go "Awwwww Auggie is just the sweet sweetest sweetums boy in the whole widest worldest. Honey let's pop out another one." I sincerely hope that's not it, but who else

Let's move on. 

Okay explain this to me. Sheriff Sean is putting out a bounty on an explanation for this. From Riley, "You can't just pick things up and think that they're yours. You need to believe in something." HOW ARE THOSE TWO RELATED? WHAT! WHAT IS THIS! 

This is where Riley says "Why won't you believe in anything?" for those who were wondering.

I really appreciate Farkle carpet bombing Lucas here, basically saying how easy it is to believe in God when your life is as perfect as his. He proceeds to give a perfectly reasonable explanation for Joan of Arc and Lucas actually blows raspberries at it. Who the hell wrote this? 
It's incredible that Farkle comments about Cory, after he lets them switch teams, "He's sneaky smart." I'm never going to believe it, writers. Say it as many times as you want, I don't care.

Later, Riley and Lucas are very impressed with Thomas Jefferson, even though we've heard absolutely nothing about him. Allegedly he "never wavered in what he believed," but, like, Hitler didn't waver either. Is there some assumed knowledge about Jefferson here? We've been told a lot about Joan of Arc, we could come in to this episode knowing nothing and be in a good place with Joan of Arc. But they've explained absolutely nothing about how Jefferson is related to this. He was a founding father of the USA, not the pope. He was a politician, not a martyr. WHAT IS THOMAS JEFFERSON? I DON'T UNDERSTAND!
Look at that smug bastard tryin' not to laugh at me. Shut up, Thomas Jefferson.

Maya's an airplane, they're friends again, that scene was a waste of time.

Okay Riley doesn't understand Jefferson either. There's some obvious chemistry here between Maya and Lucas, and I like his comment that this "isn't something you can be pushed into." So why do we have an episode dedicated to Riley pushing Maya into it? It's self defeating, and I'll tell you why. It's because this episode is noncommittal. It (understandably) doesn't want to commit too hard to either side, and in giving reasonable ground to each, the throughline gets jumbled. Don't tell me that you shouldn't push people into it while we watch Riley push someone into it. Just don't do this storyline. You can't commit your series to one side without alienating people, and you can't send a strong message without committing. So don't do the episode. 

That's the crux of what I have to say about this episode. It continues in that fashion with each side gaining and giving ground, which is at least understandable, until this despicable moment at the Bay Window. 

Lucas: "Can I find out everywhere you've been with just one click?" (No, you can't.)
Farkle: "Yeah."
Lucas, with oppressively smug satisfaction: "God can't do that?"
Pictured: "what."
What is this Gotcha Journalism bull shit? How did this happen! Jeff Menell how did you write And Then There Was Shawn?! How did you write The Eskimo!? 

Cory comes in with his own Gotcha against Farkle. While still annoying, it's at least fairly creative writing, this bit about the world being God "refracted," so to speak, into a spectrum we can comprehend. On a personal level, you either take it or leave it, but I appreciate the creativity.

It's time to wrap things up. Finally we understand what Jefferson is. He wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that basically explains how religion is a personal choice. Hey, that's great, that's real great. Riley has decided that she won't, after all, push Maya into believing. And, I mean, that's good, but like... I'm kind of disappointed that she needed a legal document to convince her not to be a jerk to her friend. Like if one of my religious friends came up and said "Hey Sean, I've decided not to force my beliefs on you," like, thanks man, wow, that's so considerate.

Farkle has come around on Joan of Arc, for no reason I can understand. He was impassioned about her being delusional in that scene at the bakery. Nothing that he said has been addressed, except of course by Lucas's eloquent raspberry blowing. I'm not saying he's necessarily right, just that the only reason he's changed his mind is to put a neat little bow on the end of this episode. That's frustrating. Stuart Minkus would never have budged.
Maya says something about giving someone else a "$5 journey", it's as nonsensical as everything else about the $5. Yogi finds the $5 and I bet the writers think it's real profound. Look out for "What d0 u think Yogi does with the five dollar journey? Fav and RT #GMW" from the writers' twitter.

Now it seeeeeeeems like we're in an okay place. Don't push your beliefs (or non-beliefs) on other people. That's a good place to be. Aside from the nauseating Gotchas earlier, everyone has been respectful, adamant, and well represented. 

But they JUST.

COULDN'T.

HELP THEMSELVES.

They just couldn't leave Maya alone. We learn in the tag scene that Maya tried praying and Riley explodes in excitement like we just landed a man on Mars or something. It really undercuts what we were trying to do here. I'm going to use Christian's succinct description of this, "The episode was like 'Everyone should be free to believe whatever they want to believe in, but God's the right thing to believe in.' " As always, the worst thing about it is that they could have so easily done it right. If you want Maya to do some "I tried praying, and it was comforting" type thing, then you also should have Riley doing some "I tried not praying, and the world was still beautiful" sort of line. That would have been awesome. Instead we got this "You finally see the truth!" crap.

After the initial penalty, we're down to a maximum C+. After Auggie, the Gotcha lines, and compromising Maya's stance at the end, we're down to about a D. But I stand firmly behind the message in Jefferson's Virginia Statute, so let's move up to a C. I think I'm at a C.

Christian will be here some day. Thanks for reading. There's obviously a lot to talk about and I'm just one guy.

Hey guys. I'm not really going to get a full on review for this one, because I dunno, this is frustrating me. This episode, a lot of the responses, and just in general. I kinda just want to move past this episode and religious arguments this weekend. I didn't like this episode much, and it's for much of the reasons Sean said.

This episode pretended to preach the idea that everyone should believe what they want, but they clearly have an agenda here. I hesitate to call it a pro-Christian agenda, especially since Michael Jacobs himself isn't even Christian, but it's definitely a pro-religion agenda. I don't think a show like this should have a pro-religious agenda. I don't think it should have an anti-religious agenda either. I think that's a serious weighty topic, the people wrap their whole world views in, and I think it's best not to touch on it here. People are not rational when debating this kind of thing. If you look in the comments, though it's been relatively tame, it's still smacked of ugliness. People who can normally discuss issues with a clear head kind of lose themselves, feel as if everything about who they are is being questioned, and lash out. Paris is in turmoil today, for similar reasons. Most people can't have rational debates about this issue, and a Disney Channel show is not the place to try.

It was impossibly one-sided, full of meaningless "Gotcha' lines that are absurd and any idiot could refute. But no one did. Because this was a fucking Christian inspirational movie starring Kirk Cameron. No argument made a lick of sense. It was a dumb episode, and I regard every character in this series a little less for having taken part of it.

It's not horrible. There was okay moments, I don't feel like hashing out what they were. (But one was Cory's screeching of "TOPANGA! I'M LONELY!") But in general, no, bad episode. And boring episode. I don't expect I will ever watch it again. And the next time someone in the comments tries to suggest that science isn't science for everyone, and that people can and ought to pick and choose which science they believe, just like religion, you ain't gonna have Good Cop Sean to deal with. I was busy this weekend, and though I've read almost all the comments, I decided it wasn't worth it to engage. But come on, guys. Don't come in here and say insane things. Science is science. That's why we teach it in public schools. It's objective fact.

I will note that that Cory's incorrect about Thomas Jefferson having been dead for over 200 years. He's been dead for less than 200 years. And Thomas Jefferson was almost certainly an atheist.

You question how Jeff Mennell wrote this episode, Sean, but he wrote Cult Fiction too. This is clearly a thing with him. And this episode is worse than Cult Fiction. Shawn's brief cult flirtation was stupid, but at least that's... a story. There were some stakes. This is just a bunch of boring low-key conversations.

Episode Rating: D+
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter, I guess, but, like, blah.

And yeah, Auggie can die in a fire. I dunno, you need me for anything else? Can this be over?


It WAS low stakes, wasn't it. Just a bunch of talking. I agree, I'll take Cult Fiction every day of the week. 

This is now over.




202 comments:

  1. I haven't watched the episode yet, but came to see what you thought. I've got to say that's maybe the best, funniest review you have on this site or BMW before it. I laughed out loud no less than four times. Kudos. You just keep getting better.

    Also, where do I sign up for hearing you make fun of a ten year old? Auggie has it coming. I hate that kid.

    I'll be back after watching. Given your review I'd like to see anyone defend it.

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    1. Thanks a lot Tim. I'm really proud of this one. The analysis will be divisive, but I'm glad you liked the writing. I definitely felt like I was in the zone.

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  2. Sean, interesting take on this. While I will write my commentary tomorrow morning, I leave you this: as I remember you didn't care for "New Teacher", or at least not as much as Christian and I did. I think we are going to have a similar issue here. This episode grew on me more and more as I watched it a second and third time (I always watch 3 times before doing my commentary) and I was surprised at what I thought of it at the end.

    And just so I don't forget to mention it later, I love that Cory has a bucket of Lucas' shoes in Riley's room that he has snatched from him as he has chased him out the window.

    Also you mentioned about Maya believing in forgiveness last week, remember that "Forgiveness Project" comes after "Yearbook" but before "Texas" but "Belief" comes before "Yearbook" in the timeline. I think you have to take that in to account in your review. The "when" of some of these episodes is just as important as the "lesson" they teach. Unlike BMW, the writers are at least trying to have the kids learn and grow and REMEMBER what they learned, but having things shown in whatever order Disney wants sometimes clouds our sense of continuity.

    Speaking of that, when we get a break after this season concludes, we need to take a week and try to settle a real viewing order for season 2. That itself might make some episodes seem better when viewed in the proper context.

    And Auggie is an 8 year old playing a 6 year old (at least when this was filmed), so I personally cut the kid more slack than you seem to.

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    1. I thought New Teacher was awesome, you've got me and the C man mixed up there. Even if you scratch forgiveness off the list, Maya still believes in lots of things.

      The fact that Maturo is 8 doesn't change the fact that he sucks. But I understand that it's not worth mentioning anymore, and so deliberately avoided that subject, looking more at why they have that content at all.

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    2. The continuity is a good point, I suppose. I had wondered why Farkle seemed to have regressed in style.

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    3. Sorry I got you two mixed up on "New Teacher".

      I understand that Maya believes in lots of things, I do as well (I believe the designated hitter is an abomination to baseball for instance), but I believe that the point of the episode was believing in something bigger; kind of a life, the universe and everything vibe if you will. That was what Riley was trying to ask Maya in the opening. Maybe I'm nit picking, but I see a difference.

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    4. *combining into one comment*

      To clarify on Maturo, we're not all heading out to our theoretical children's fifth grade production of A Christmas Carol here. This is public television. I don't want to watch bad actors, period.

      I addressed that in the post. They could have very very easily just said that if that's what they meant. Why didn't they just say that? They didn't say it in Cult Fiction either.

      What's more, almost everything I listed that Maya believes in IS a "life the universe and everything vibe." Love is "something bigger," so is art and the transcendent power of friendship. Those are all great big huge things.

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    5. Fair enough, but isn't this part of what everyone has been complaining about for the show's entire run so far? Everyone says "show, don't tell" and while this isn't exactly the same thing, isn't it close enough that we should be happy that they did it this way? I mean that's what I got out of it, and what the core 4 seemed to get out of it even if they didn't explicitly say it to us. I am going to assume that other viewers will have also realized that this is the message they were trying to get across. I have to say I applaud the writers for not smacking me over the head with this message as they do just about every week with the lesson-du-jour. YMMV and I may be completely wrong, but that is my belief and I'm sticking to it. (Pun intended)

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    6. I don't know what you're saying. The lesson was explicitly "Don't push your beliefs on other people." They showed us that AND told us it. That's in the review. That's not really related to my beef with what Riley said to Maya.

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  3. I have been looking forward to this episode just so I can see certain types of people seethe with anger over it. I'm sure that they consider this rare mention of God on television show to be highly offensive and traumatizing.

    As someone who has watched/heard my beliefs constantly mocked and denigrated in tv shows, movies, Broadway plays, art exhibits, books, radio shows, and social media, It was nice to see characters on TV believe in God and not be ridiculed for it.

    I for one am thankful for this episode mostly because it reflects a reality that some would rather ignore. Most shows would have you believe the vast majority of people are atheist and agnostics, when that just isn't true. AA's actually make up a small minority of the population. Even among those who don't have a religion, most still believe in a higher power. A slight majority of scientist also believe in a higher power, so the stereotype that all scientists are atheists is misleading.

    I'm tired of the media pretending like the majority are somehow the odd ones out.

    Bravo to the writers.

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    1. I'd also like to address the complaint about Maya changing what she believed. I'm glad they did that because usually it is the other way around. It happens to pretty much every single show that features an openly Christian Character. They always end up not being a Christian anymore. Off the top of my head, the best example I can think of is Degrassi and the character Claire. She started off as a normal Christian girl who had strong values and morals and then they completely threw all of it away. The last time I watched she was no different then all the other characters on the show.

      Needless to say I stopped watching.

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    2. With all due respect, I watch that show and that is NOT what happened. Clare simply questioned her beliefs but never seemed to stop being a Christian. There were also other Christians on that show who retained their beliefs until the very end. Also, I have no idea what shows or movies you've watched, but I can't say that I've ever seen any show or movie ending with the formerly religious character ceasing to be a believer.

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    3. I agree with second Anon. First Anon, I'm pretty sure everyone in the country knows that a majority of people are religious. I have literally never heard of a character being mocked for their religion on TV, except on like House where it's obvious that House is being an ass.

      The media pretending Christians are the odd ones out? I'm sorry, and I'm genuinely glad you took the time to read my thoughts, but I have no idea where you're coming from.

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    4. in prime time television to believe in God and say in on the show is rare out of fear of offending others, to do this on a show aimed at kids I think is great!

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    5. "I have been looking forward to this episode just so I can see certain types of people seethe with anger over it."

      Yikes. Well, that's nice. God bless!

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    6. Yeah, I'm also not sure who on Earth isn't aware that the vast majority of Americans are Christian? It's a number that's on a steady decline, but it's declining from extreeeemely high and will have a while to go before it changes. I just looked up a Pew poll and it's something like 70%, down from 78% ten-ish years ago. Still very much the majority.

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    7. It is the majority but here is still a culture among media that talking about faith not just Christianity isn't as popular or done as much as people who talk about believing in science. Believing in science and things that are proven are totally fine but I'm seeing in pop culture people who say they have a faith related to a religion aren't as always supported.

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    8. I think it's just that since this country is filled with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Athiests, and more, it just makes more sense not to get into religion much on TV or things like that. Because invariably what you're speaking to may be something much of your audience has no connection to. There's no reason to shy away from talking about science, meanwhile, because science is science for everybody.

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    9. But I wonder if people who didn't believe fully in science would agree with that, just like faith is different for everyone so is science and I think that was one of the messages of the episode. I get your point around it may not be for the audience but there has been clear evidence that God and Christianity is a part of the series, even with BMW.

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    10. "just like faith is different for everyone so is science" I'm not sure what you're trying to say. No matter where you go, even if it's the next galaxy over, the evidence for atomic theory, gravity, and whatever else is still the same. That's the point of science, that the results are the same for everyone.

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    11. It comes down to if people believe science to be true or not. Everyone has their truth and even science though factual, people don't have to believe it or believe in it. I think that is a misstep to the episode in that belief and science and faith and facts is not for a 30 minute sitcom, they should have given this storyline many more episodes and had us see the kids develop their ideas and beliefs more thoroughly.

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    12. "A couple of episodes" wouldn't have been sufficient. It takes years to figure out your beliefs, religious or otherwise. Even people "raised" Christian still end up weighing the value of different aspects over time and life experience. At least in countries where people are literate and can read the material themselves.

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    13. You're right, a couple episodes wouldn't have been good enough either, but tv time and real time are different, either way more time no matter how long would be better then 30 minutes.

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    14. Also, i didn't mean a couple episodes in a row by coming back to the topic throughout the series, so there's that.

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    15. I definitely agree with you that most tv shows and movies will have very little positive mention of God but has no problem of making fun of a god. I am a Catholic and it does not really bother me and I think its cool to see characters that believe in God. The problem with this episode is like Sean said. It's cool to have a conversation about faith with people, but it's not really fair to try to force them to believe and if they dont say they don't believe in anything like Maya said. There are definitely some people who get angry about any mention of god on tv or in public but I think most of the people here have a problem with how it was used not that the characters are faithful or talk about God.

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    16. Sean, you really don't know tv shows that make fun of religion. I dont watch much tv but the big bang theory, family guy, and the simpsons come to mind right away.

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    17. those shows make fun of EVERYTHING, they're not singling out religion. they're not anti-theist or promoting any sort of agenda. they make fun of atheists too.

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    18. I would disagree with that but I really don't feel like getting into it. it's not a big deal to me. Good review like always

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    19. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that it was the Simpsons that once pointed out that card carrying atheists have just replaced their belief in religion with speaking out against it. Plus Lisa's a Buddhist and it's always been portrayed in a positive way.

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  4. The issue I had, was the complete disregard of Farkle's belief in science over faith. Farkle makes the comment how can you believe in something you can't see (I think see was the wrong word...prove would have been better) and the response was you can't see this you can't see that but you know its there...so why not god? The light refracting and showing all the colors of the rainbow is why we can see...proof. The people living in the apartments, go over and see them...proof. A planet circling a distant star recognized by the dip in the star's light as it passes in front of it...proof. God...well, you just have to believe in it...uh...no proof. For someone as evidence-based as Farkle, the fact that there is no evidence outside of "I feel it, so it must be so" for the existence of god, would never lead him to believing. If the episode was about accepting people's different beliefs, why didn't Cory say that Farkle's belief's were different, not wrong. Instead, we get this phony, faith based "scientific" evidence that just because you can't see something, doesn't mean it's not real. That's the same crap Intelligent Designers give...oh, we don't know, so it must be a higher power. The entire attitude seemed to be Farkle doesn't believe in god, there must be something wrong with him.

    B storyline about the girls being separate had some cute moments...I loved the look on Riley's face when Lucas said "You know, maybe you are too close" regarding all the Riley/Maya selfies.

    C storyline with Auggie, while the acting wasn't great, was the best part. Talking to someone who is gone (as long as they aren't talking back) in order to not miss them as much is not that bad.

    The title should have been "Girl Meets Faith". At best, C-

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    1. To me, a much more interesting story would have been the idea that Maya doesn't believe in anything (which she has said before). The idea that the Fiver belonged to someone else would be foreign to Maya, just like with the locket in "Truth". Someone lost it, she found it, it's hers now. If the episode had centered around Riley trying to get Maya to believe in herself...in believing that she could be "better", it would have tied in nicely with that. What it came off as was god sees you doing bad things so you shouldn't do bad things...if you don't believe in god, that's not that big a downside. However, learning to believe in yourself, believing that you can be good even with all the odds stacked against you, believing that your friends are there no matter what...that's a show I'd have liked to see and one that ties nicely in with the rest of the season concept of "Growth"

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    2. I don't think there was an implication of Farkle starting to believe in god. He just came around on Joan of Arc for stupid plot reasons. I enjoyed the girls being separate as well. Maya on vacation was funny. Just unfortunate that that scene had no impact whatsoever on the story. Total filler.

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  5. My thoughts while watching the show:
    Farkle's talking to himself in class was hysterical!! On point!
    Then!!!
    Farkle's making fun of voices...was there NOT just an episode about autism?! Not okay. Not cool. But he's a 14 year old boy may not get the connection.

    I adored Lucas in the episode and riley as well! But Lucas is precious throughout the whole episode! They were both amazingly refreshing
    However why was it okay for farkle to say he believed in science but Lucas skirted around the word faith or religion or spirituality? Sorry, but I sniff PC culture yet again sneaking into this show. I'm not saying he's a Christian exactly but from previous episodes it's pretty clear Lucas believes in God.

    ALSO! Finally an actual history lesson to go with the moral of the story! Yes!!

    As the episode went I heard words like faith and a higher power and that made me more comfortable because you can see times where Lucas is talking about prayer but then farkle's explaining why science is important to him and all of it is so sweet and genuine!
    I love love love that they are talking about two such different things and how they can be brought together so sweetly when in actuality these two topics seperates society.
    This episode man, after the last few is killing it!

    Maya acting drunk off of lemonade is pretty funny as well!

    This episode, with the seeing is believe vs believing is seeing and the idea of air and breath and ugh! I'm getting weirdly emotional. I always knew BMW was a show where the family believed in God and a higher power and they did it with such Grace and now in a world where if both sides aren't represented people get yelled at or told they are an 'ist' I love how GMW has made this topic light yet powerful!

    I did not feel anywhere in this episode that anything was forced! Not the comedy, the lines, the relationships, nothing. This episode honestly was as perfect I think as it can get.

    Auggie! STOOOOPP It! I just lost it!

    What I love about this episode is it shows that kids can have a belief in something or someone and believe fiercely, even though they are kids.

    Grade A+++++
    MVP: Lucus because i loved every word he said and Auggie for giving me all the feels

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  6. Just like last episode was clearly a B,this one was clearly a C.
    I hated Riley and the money thing. HATED! If you find 50 bucks they're yours, if you find 500, you go to the police. That's it, thats the rule, 5 bucks is nothing. And I hated that show wanted to show Riley as being in the right on this one.
    I've been liking Riley more and more this season but her as some sort of moral high ground just makes me resent her.

    The whole God thing was whatever. I'd like if they did something different and have Farkle, the scientific mind, believing in God (like many, many scientists do) and good ol' boy Lucas being not so sure. But they would never do that in a million years, because playing it safe was this episode's middle name.

    But what an odd, odd episode to be shown out of order. Last weeks episode mostly worked after Texas, but this one really doesnt. Not only because of continuity, as with old Farkle back, and Cory chasing Lucas out of Riley's room, but because is a clear set up to the dynamic in Texas.

    Lucas and Riley being so, so alike that theres not even enough discussion to do a paper. Maya and Lucas actually working together well, and them having an honest, frank discussion about an important thing, allowing Maya to open her heart and mind to a new possibility, without making it seem that Lucas actually pushed her to anything. And oh, was that boy giggly when working in that project.

    And talking about shipping, holy rilaya! If I ever thought Disney would go there, thats where I'd bet my money. I watched the ep a week ago, so I don't remember the exact quote but Maya pretty much went "you do your thing, I do my thing" at some point. That's a direct parallel to Corpanga.

    But talking about the girls, I wish they had done them taking a break thing last longer or be a bigger focus on the ep, because that is gold. I don't think anyone wants to see them not be friends, but people as close as these two are bound to have conflicts, and to be honest, at one point or another you kind of get sick of seeing each others face. Their relationship is the backbone of this show, and seeing it challenged should be more of a deal. And no, not over some boy.

    Its funny, I've been listening to Hamilton's soundtrack non-stop, so my reaction to Thomas Jefferson is incredibly biased. Boo, Thomas Jeferson, you're a good rapper but your economic politics suck!

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    1. I agree, the break between the girls should have lasted longer. I understand this is a show for kids and their attention spans aren't the longest but I believe it would have given the show more depth to see how they handle being different in their beliefs but can still be best friends! This is something the show is definitely missing and that having story lines stretch out longer which is an overall disney struggle.
      The writers have made it clear that they are going to cover 'real' topics, well then give it real time. I guess I sometimes wonder if they learned anything from BMW and how it was SO successful, they gave storylines time to grow and build depth. Just because it's a kids network and aimed at younger children doesn't mean it has to fit their attention spans. If anything! It can teach them patience.

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    2. considering that kid watch stuff like dragon ball where one fight lasts like 7 episodes, this whole "kids attention span" thing always sounded bogus to me.

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    3. But that is just fighting, not really character development, but j get your point and agree kids can focus longer than people realize.

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  7. I'll post my full thoughts later.

    I really didn't like this episode. You know, I actually hated it.

    It's not getting a grade or an MVP.

    And this is coming from a Christian, so to all the Anonymous posters, it's not just "certain people" (you mean, atheists, don't hide behind it) who had problems with this episode.

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  8. Done watching this show's "after school special" episodes. Too preachy in an unnatural way. BMW didn't need an entire fkn episode dedicated to God just to include God. At this point, they're just checking off a list of topics to say "Hey! We're mature and edgy! We're better than the other shows!" After Yearbook, basically the season's midpoint, the show has declined greatly for me. And this is coming from a Christian lol.

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    1. This was by far the worst of the after school specials. What a load of garbage.

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  9. The dollar scene at the beginning was a true story that happened between Jacobs and his son. Jacobs (a religious man, so I don't get the connection) wanted to keep the money, but his son disagreed, saying it was wrong. How this exactly translates into having faith in a higher being, I don't know.

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  10. General-purpose theism seems to be part of GMW’s DNA, and it has given us more than a couple of “universe unfolding as it should” moments. So I count it as a win that this episode didn’t actually portray elements of faith as being objectively true.

    On the other hand, and I agree with Anonymous (No. 3? Lost count), about Farkle. He didn’t seem to understand the epistemology of science, and, while maybe somewhat more robust than usual, he was still a straw-man atheist. I found the prism bit as ridiculous as the mouse-click bit.

    The only way I could enjoy this episode was by treating the subject matter as a McGuffin and watching the characters interact. There was much to like on that basis.

    I probably know less about American history than almost anybody else here, but wasn’t Thomas Jefferson the “separation of church and state” guy? Wikipedia tells me the Establishment Clause of your Constitution was based on the Virginia document referenced in the episode.

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    1. Cryptid456 here. My computer's in the shop. Hi Milestones.

      I minored in History in college. And I love, love, love American History.

      Jefferson advocated for the separation of church and state, yes, but he was also was the furthest thing from the atheist people like the Freedom from Religion Foundation make him out to be.

      The whole "separation of church and state" thing came up with a letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association of Conneticut. The letter, which is one of the first times the term "wall of separation" is used, was Jefferson's explicit affirmation that he would not ever allow the establishment of a State Religion and would uphold religious liberty.

      Before anybody else brings up the First Amendment, let it be said that it explicitly states that Congress will neither ESTABLISH a state religion, nor will it PREVENT free exercise thereof.

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    2. I don't think Farkle was a straw man outside of the Bay Window. In the Bay Window scene, his purpose was purely to let the other characters make their points and stand triumphant over his mangled corpse. He seemed fine outside of that, but I'm open to discussion.

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    3. I wouldn't go so far as to say Farkle was a straw man. And believe me, I am well-aquainted with straw man arguments.

      If anything, Farkle sounded like the typical teenager. He doesn't know a fraction of what he thinks he knows, but he lords his so-called brilliance over everyone else. Was it straw man-y? Perhaps, but it also reminded me a lot of the kids I knew in high school.

      His mocking St. Joan of Arc for her possible schizophrenia was infuriating. Farkle falls to pieces over maybe having Asperger's, (a serious condition to be sure, make no mistake there), but a few weeks (months?) previously he laughs at a little girl who may be schizophrenic and died for it?! Farkle's lucky Lucas didn't break his jaw.

      And his asking Riley why she didn't actually do anything other than pray? While there is definitely a valid discussion to be had over whether Sunday service punch-clockers, for want of a better phrase, don't do enough (And it should be had), Riley is consistently shown to be not just the moral compass of her group, but also the leader.
      Farkle, who was it who rushed to your side when you were getting bullied Farkle? Who was it who instigated the classroom writing their flaws on their foreheads to confront Billy over the way he treated you?

      It should be noted that neither Lucas nor Riley ever actually disagreed with the scientific points Farkle made.

      And I don't buy Farkle as an atheist. For crying out loud, he said in the second bloody episode that he had a soul! I don't science can give you a soul.

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    4. I'm glad I'm not the only one to call farkle out on his hypocrisy of mental illness! Total misstep in the writing.

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    5. Farkle wasn't mocking Joan, just explaining his logical sciencey side. Everything he said made sense. Why are you interested in breaking his jaw? Holy shit dude.

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    6. To quote Farkle, "I think Joan of Arc had a screw loose." I did a report on Joan of Arc just like Shipping Wars. And I have nothing but respect for her..

      Never mind that the scientific jury is out as to whether or not Joan was schizophrenic, epileptic, or suffering from paranoid delusions. Never mind that the Vatican hails her as a saint. Never mind that the Vatican has produced some of the most intelligent scientists who have ever lived.

      it was still a very slimy thing of Farkle to say. I've ranged from tolerating to actually enjoying Turtleneck Farkle. I didn't even dislike him in "Crazy Hat," since you know, he actually did do the assignment. But here, I had nothing but contempt.

      "Breaking his jaw" was hyperbolic. Could have phrased it better, I admit. I have a habit of saying things that were more extreme than what I intended.

      But if Lucas had lost his temper, as Farkle kept going on and on about "Look at how stupid Joan of Arc was. And how stupid the priests were. Look how smart I am." I wouldn't have been surprised.

      I didn't hear anything remotely resembling compassion in Farkle's voice. Once Farkle got beyond the "they burned her because they believed in superstitions and witches," and started going for the martyr, he came across as completely unlikable.

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    7. What does the vatican have to do with anything?

      I think you are seriously overreacting. Farkle explaining his opinion doesn't make him a bad person just because you don't like it.Was he acting high and mighty? Of course. He's Farkle. He's always high and mighty. But now that he's high and mighty about something you personally disagree with, it's suddenly unacceptable?

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    8. I want to be very clear that it is not my intention to be argumentative here Sean. This is something I care very much about, and I want things to remain civil. I've lost my temper before on this blog and I still regret those instances. I love this blog and everyone on it.

      Of course, Farkle explaining his opinion doesn't make him a bad person. This episode aside, he's actually my favorite out of the Core Four. And as to his opinion in itself, people have debated the role schizophrenia and epilepsy have had in cases of saints, miracles and exorcisms pretty much since biblical times. So a healthy skepticism in a case-by-case basis is probably the right thing to do here. Err on the side of caution, and whatnot. Now, I disagree harshly about St. Joan "having a screw loose," but I understand the argument.

      And of course, Farkle's been high and mighty before. It's a part of his character that he doesn't know when to stop being a braggart. It's what made his development from Turtleneck Farkle to Donnie Barnes to Current Farkle all the more noticeable. And arguably one of the most redeeming qualities about this show. Farkle's development has been compared to Topanga in this regard...and Topanga just kind of "poofed" from Hippie Flower Child to Smart, Ambitious Future-Mrs. Cory. So credit where credit is due.

      Farkle's been annoying to the point of obnoxious. And he never lets an argument go until he wins. All of that is true. The thing is, it's usually with his friends and it's generally banter. Even the "HA!" was something akin to what Stuart did to Cory and Shawn--that said, Feeny would give Stuart detention for a month if he had ever gone "HA!"

      The thing here is that I don't remember Farkle ever being quite like this to somebody who couldn't defend themselves. I think it's that he seemed to just be a bit of a bully here.

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    9. I dont know i think you're being a little harsh on farkle saying "having a screw loose". I feel like that's a common phrase people use and he said it kind of jokingly, he has no idea what Joan of Ark was like. But maybe that's just me thinking the whole world's gotten a bit too PC for my taste.

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    10. Are you really telling me that Farkle was bullying a "defenseless" Lucas over Joan of Arc? Lucas wasn't even taking it seriously, he blew raspberries at it. I think Lucas is gonna be okay.

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    11. I should have clarified that I thought Farkle was essentially bullying Joan of Arc. Lucas can take care of himself. We're back to Lucas the Good here and for me, Lucas the Good is more boring that watching golf. Lucas the Good can move back to Texas.

      And I certainly agree that the world has gotten far, far too politically correct. It's not the phrase "screw loose" that bothers me. What bothers me is that Farkle is so cavalier about it.

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    12. Cryptid, there you are. I have missed you, my young friend.

      Looks like you’ve been busy today, causing trouble again.

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    13. Hi Milestones. I am very happy to hear that you still call me friend after all that.

      Yeah...I left a comment/review of my own down a bit. I want to apologize for my role in this snafu. This is a very sensitive issue.

      I don't think the Internet is the best place to discuss this. Maybe it's the anonymity involved.

      When I was in college, I only had a few close friends, largely due to commuting rather than living on campus. It was what it was. But we discussed religion a lot. One friend was a devout Catholic and loved the book "Atlas Shrugged." My best friend was a strict adherent to evolutionary theory, but his favorite writer was C.S. Lewis. One classmate who was majoring in anthropology shared an admiration for the apologetic works of Lee Strobel.

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    14. No problems with me, Cryptid. Seems like you were mad at the show anyway, and haven't we all been mad the show at one time or another? But yeah, I was going to post some additional comments but felt like I would have needed to provide trigger warnings.

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    15. Trigger warnings?! Those are for Social Justice Warriors on Tumblr! My dear Milestones, let the record show that I, a Baptist-Pentecostal-Methodist (long story) have no issue with being challenged, so long as the challenge is well-stated.

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    16. That must have been an interesting trip, Cryptid. I was thinking more about the touchy nature of the topic in general.

      Then again, what else are we going to talk about for the next few weeks?

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    17. What can we talk about for the next few weeks?

      Hmmm...it's almost Thanksgiving in the States. What do Canadians do during American Thanksgiving? Watch football?

      On a slightly more serious note, I do think there is a conversation to be had on how to insert matters of faith into film and television properly. Bear in mind, in high school, my favorite show was "Touched By An Angel."

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    18. Go to work? That’s what I’ll be doing. I will catch some of the first game, as I’m a ten-minute walk away and usually go home for lunch. I should also be able see the end of the second game. And our IT guys are probably going to notice an increase in my internet usage in between.

      I imagine Christian and Sean will have somethings here for us to read and react to in any event.

      I do agree that there are issues here worthy of discussion, and I think we are up to the job doing it respectfully.

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    19. "I do agree that there are issues here worthy of discussion, and I think we are up to the job doing it respectfully."

      I think respect is the key, both in the discussion and the execution of the works to begin with.

      With that in mind, when I first heard about this episode, the first thing that came to my mind was two recent productions that covered the same source materials in very different ways.

      A couple of years ago, Tim Burnett and Roma Downey produced a miniseries on the Bible. Both Catholics, they weren't particularly happy with the state of religious knowledge in America. You think Cory's classroom is bad? Apparently more than a few people in a survey wrote down that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.

      To counter this trend, Downey and Burnett produced a ten-part miniseries that gave a very, very abridged telling of the Bible, with stories from both the Old and New Testament.

      I saw the entire miniseries. Some of it was very good; I was particularly impressed with the friendship between David and Jonathan, son of King Saul, as well as the portrayals of both John the Baptist and Jesus. The rest...wasn't particularly good. Some of it was a little too overly emotional for its own good. And some of the deviations from the text were annoying.

      However, I can appreciate an honest, respectful effort. And I find it very telling that the actor portraying St. Paul was extremely grateful to have a part in showing the Greatest Story Ever Told.

      By comparison, last year a movie called Exodus: Gods and Kings was released. The story, naturally, tells the story of the Hebrews' exodus from their slavery in Egypt. The film was directed by Ridley Scott and both Scott and the actor who played Moses, Christian Bale, made less than flattering remarks about the source material--Bale went so far as to call Moses one of the most barbaric individuals he had ever read about. And Scott is a well-known critic of religion. These comments wound up alienating their target audience.
      To put it frankly, there wasn't much in the way of respect. The movie was supposedly visually stunning, but even when I first saw the trailers, I couldn't help but think that if I wanted to watch the story of Exodus with the emphasis on Moses and Ramses, then I could always watch "Prince of Egypt."

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    20. Cryptid, I remember hearing about both of those but never saw them.

      Coming from the other side, I have a love-hate relationship with “The Exorcist.” While I’m a skeptic, I will accept pretty much anything as part of the grammar of a movie or TV show: ghosts, UFOs, ESP, demonic possession. But, and this is often the case where something is said to be based on real events, there are routinely attempts to trivialize or ridicule those who would seek or offer rational explanations.

      “The Exorcist” is a great movie. Its makers are promoting a religious worldview, which isn’t objectionable in and of itself. But the movie is remorselessly anti-science, which is objectionable.

      I found “Belief” innocuous, but for the Farkle characterization. The biggest trouble was indeed in the Bay Window and onward (the inexplicable mystery of having friends?). But the weak “seeing is believing” stuff (does he not accept the atomic theory, are we really supposed to believe that he is incapable of offering a working hypothesis about what might be inside an apartment building?) can be traced back as far as his conversation with Maya during their brief partnership.

      Even at the start of the episode—“why believe in anything you can’t prove?”—what he says is nonsensical, given the meaning “believe” used in this episode. If something can be proven, why would it be a matter of belief?

      While maybe not a vitriolic as you took it be, Cryptid, what Farkle’s said about Joan of Arc still seemed like an ad hominem attack. And while amusing, and consistent what he has previously said, Farkle’s response to religion working for Lucas seemed like petty jealousy. In both cases, there are better arguments.

      I was nonplussed by Farkle’s failure to counter Lucas’ assertion that he was “afraid.”

      All in all, to me, Farkle never seemed that different from any other straw-man skeptic, stubbornly rejecting what is being reasonably offered (if not actually what is there, right in front of him).

      Well, that is the other problem with the area. It’s hard to be concise.

      I wanted to ask, have you ever seen “The Last Temptation of Christ”? I remember it being fairly controversial when it came out. I liked it. Though I didn’t encounter any angry protesters, when I emerged from the theatre, someone did had me a pamphlet with kind suggestions about how to go about learning the real story.

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    21. Considering my name is Cryptid456, and in addition to theology, I spent most of high school researching cryptids like Sasquatch and Mokele Embembe (Living long-necked dinosaurs in the Congo. Yes, really.)

      I had a feeling "The Exorcist" would come up. I have not seen it. Mostly because I am a bloody coward. Against my better judgment, I occasionally research demonic possession. While it mercifully, and frankly miraculously considering what a softy I am, has never resulted in nightmares that I can remember, it has given me knowledge I wish I knew less about.

      If one knows where to look, the information of what's out there is the most terrifying information in this world, or the next. Despite the reputation brought on by frauds like Whatshisname Larson, or countless bad movies on the material, I don't know if it's fair to say that real-life exorcisms are anti-science. Or at least, exorcisms sanctioned by the Vatican.
      The Vatican is very, very, very careful with dealings like this. Medical experts and psychiatrists are always consulted before any form of schizophrenia or psychosis is considered less likely than demonic possession. I cannot emphasize how careful the priests are with this.

      And in my last year of college, I did some research on asylums and exorcisms and Edgar Allan Poe. Long story on the why, but the gist is I wanted to investigate the supernatural and the nineteenth-century responses to psychosis.
      It was mostly what you'd expect. The "doctors" put the patients in wards to keep them "safe."
      But there was one case. I'm vague on the specifics, since it's been seven months, and I'll have to find the articles in the morning, since it's nearly midnight here, but there was one case that defies all scientific explanation. And we're talking twentieth-century here. A Catholic priest performed an exorcism on a patient that had been in the asylum for fifteen years, after no medical treatments made any progress whatsoever. The patient was completely cured.

      And then there's the case that inspired "The Exorcist." I am not Catholic, but I don't know if there's anybody I respect more than the Jesuit priests, the saintly scholars of Ignatius Loyola.

      And I have never seen "The Last Temptation of Christ," nor do I intend to. To be perfectly honest, I haven't even seen the entirety of Charlton Heston's "The Ten Commandments." And I really should.

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    22. Please do not come in here saying that demonic possession is real.

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    23. Sorry Cryptid, I got you in trouble again.

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    24. It happens, Milestones. But I'm not saying demonic possession is real one way or the other. Or at least, not trying to.

      I was just trying to provide some context into the subject matter, based upon my own research, rather than actually state an opinion on demonic possession overall. And while there is certainly an anti-rational vein in the exorcism films, the actual historical and contemporary context of demonic possession across cultures, Western and Eastern, is considerably more complex.

      Funnily enough, when I was in high school and developing my worldviews, I had two classes, Sociology and Cultural Anthropology and we touched on this material. My teacher was a Pagan and he and I actually got along great because I took the material so seriously. We disagreed on virtually everything, but we could find common ground.

      Moving away from that particular hornet's nest, I would like to mention that I actually think that matters of faith can be handled very well in media, though I'm more inclined to think that books rather than television or film are better suited for the material.
      My favorite YA novel is "A Friend At Midnight," and it interweaves issues of faith and forgiveness into a very gripping story of a teenaged girl who outright despises her father for abandoning her younger brother whom he had custody of and her struggle to reconcile what she's taught at church with what she's experienced in her life. Powerful and sad, the book is. Highly recommended.

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    25. Nobody's in trouble, just... come on now...

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    26. Nobody's in trouble, just... come on now...

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    27. Hi again, Cryptid. I invoked “The Exorcist” only as the most egregious example I could recall of Hollywood stacking the faith v. science deck for didactic purposes.

      Though I meant “in trouble” as tongue in cheek, it still might be appropriate if we table a conversation about actual claims of the paranormal for another place and time.

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    28. I agree, Milestones. As much as I've enjoyed this conversation, another time and place would be more appropriate.

      With that in mind...I have nothing else to say. Hmmm...so this is what that's like.

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  11. (Part 1/2) Full disclosure. I'm a Christian. I've believed in God since I was a toddler. Unlike many other posters who seem to be religious, I hated this episode. I even hated it more than Sean. So, let's talk about this episode.

    Riley and Maya find 5 bucks in the hallway. Maya wants to keep it. Riley says it's not ours. This is fine. But "In God We Trust?" Really, that's how you're bringing God into it? "In God We Trust" was put on American currency in the 1950s as a response to communism. So, we have Riley believing in God and Maya doesn't. Fine...Riley putting five bucks on the ground is obnoxious. It's 5 bucks. If you're that concerned, bring it to the office. I found 20 bucks in my school library once. I asked some kids if it was theirs. It wasn't. So I kept it. I'm not proud of it, but I can't change something that happened four years ago. But to put it back on the ground? Dumb move Matthews.

    Class time. Joan of Arc? Okay, that's actually pretty good. Farkle thinks she's nuts. Okay.. I did a report on her in 8th grade for my French class. I thought she was a loony bird too. I didn't try as hard as I should have but years later, I don't know if Joan of Arc had a vision/heard God. If they want to bring God in, why do it with Joan of Arc? She was alive 600 years ago. Shouldn't it be more modern? Have Farkle refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, because he doesn't believe in God. "Under God" was added by Congress and Eisenhower. Why? "We are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war" So yeah, basically, it was because God's real and we know it and we're going to force our kids to say it.

    Thomas Jefferson? Yeah, he was big on religious freedom and his own views were all over the place. Fine to report about though.

    God, this is bad. Really bad. Let's go to Topanga's. So Riley and Maya are still arguing and Farkle's being a dick to Lucas. So Farkle doesn't believe in what he can't see? There's nothing wrong with that. I knew my share of atheists in high school. A few liked to belittle Christians. A lot of them liked me since I refused to push my beliefs on them. I always believed that the best way to show God was through actions, not words. They were atheists because of science, like Farkle, or not particularly great home lives/bad church experiences.

    The partner swap was dumb as was Maya's break from Riley. Holy shit, best friends can spend time apart. And that's okay! The plane thing was really dumb. They're literally twenty feet apart. You want to spend time apart from Riley, Maya, and you hang out in the same room. What is this??? Sean, you're telling me the guy who wrote the Eskimo wrote this steaming pile of horeshit?

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    1. (Part 2/2)
      Okay, they switch again. Farkle and Riley? I don't understand you Riley. Farkle's been one of your best friends for seven years but it doesn't bother you that he doesn't believe in anything? We had you throw a hissy fit that Maya doesn't believe but Farkle? God, what a mess. The Maya/Lucas scene was pretty good though.

      As for Auggie's story? I liked it better than most of Auggie's other stories? Talking to Mrs. Svorksi? Totally fine side story. When my personal "Mr. Feeny" died, I'd go off on my own during church sometimes to a quiet spot and just talk. It helped me with the healing process. I did it more like a whisper but whatever. Auggie's a cute kid and he's fine for an 8-year-old but yeah, I'm kinda indifferent.

      The bay window scene sucked. Here we see Mya and Farkle actually asking about what it's like to believe in God and they get more or less shamed for not doing so. Despicable. Believing in God IS not like a computer. That's some sort of garbage you'd make for believing in Santa. The prism thing? I'm not sure what you're trying to do Cory.

      The final classroom scene and Farkle, ONCE AGAIN, gives some speech about how he doesn't know how he ended up with his friends but he likes it. Writers. We. Get. It. These kids are friends and love each other. WE GET IT!

      The tag scene was awful. I liked Maya saying that she prayed for others but Riley's "Can I say Yay" was just wrong. This whole thing reminds me of a situation I have in my life. My favorite cousin recently became an atheist. This is a guy who went to a Christian college, was home-schooled, and his parents are missionaries. When he told me, I gave him a standing ovation. I'm proud of him. This is because I always felt that he should believe because it's his choice, not what his parents told him since birth.

      So, to conclude, this episode was the second worst of the season, excluding World of Terror. I haven't seen Fish so I imagine that's worse too. No MVP. No Grade. As a side-note, if you're reading this IHeartGriff, please come back. You were an asset to the community and you're missed.

      I'm done guys. See you all for New Year. And may the U.S.S. Joshaya finally sink.

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    2. Sounds like you got your head on straight, Shipping Wars. I'm curious, would you have liked to see something different here or just not approach this story at all?

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    3. Good question Sean, I'll get back to you.

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    4. Shipping Wars is better at computers than me...never mind, point is I am no longer Anonymous.

      This episode....I don't know what to say. I wanted to like it. I really, really, really wanted to like it. But I didn't. I need some time for a more thorough review.

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    5. I've thought about it Sean and I honestly don't see why they brought it up like this. Have Riley say "Farkle, Maya, want to come to church with me on Sunday? They have donuts." Do something organic like that. Something that's believable.

      I actually really missed Zay in this one. Damn, I've gotten attached to him.

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    6. Yeah, where was Zay in all this?

      Why have an episode about God, if you don't include the kid named for arguably the most important prophet in all of Judaism or Christianity?

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  12. Sorry this is really long:
    I didn't mind this episode too much until the halfway point. It wasn't great, but it had the potential to be decent. The first scene in the hallway was actually a decent start: Riley getting upset with Maya taking the money felt reminiscent of the episode where Maya took that locket.

    The first classroom scene wasn't nearly as good as some of the ones we've been getting lately, but a few comments from Riley, Maya, and Farkle were pretty funny.. The assignment felt weird too. Talking about Joan of Arc and Thomas Jefferson at the same time when the two of them came from different countries during different eras. It just doesn't make sense, and they definitely wouldn't be discussed at the same time and probably not even in the same history class. Also, the part where Cory gives the assignment, and Maya makes fun of him was pretty bothersome. In a fair amount of episodes, Maya mocks Cory in the classroom, and Cory doesn't really seem to do anything. It's just unrealistic.

    I did enjoy Farkle and Lucas's conversation about believing in God. At that point, some of the points brought up for believing in God versus not believing in God were pretty spot-on.

    When they decided to switch partners, it got pretty bad in my opinion. I get that Maya and Riley are supposed to be inseparable, and they've been shown to be great friends up until now. But the way Farkle talked to Maya about the situation seemed so Disney Channelesque (I get that this is a show on Disney Channel, but it still bothered me so much). The line Lucas had about Maya and Riley spending too much time together was really good because it can be a bit much. I've been best friends with the same person for 13 years, and we're incredibly close (like Cory and Shawn level close), but we can take breaks, and sometimes taking a break from a best friend is justified.

    I will give Lucas some credit during the scene where he talked to Maya in the Matthews's apartment. Him bringing up how you can't be pushed into believing in something felt realistic, and I enjoyed that. However, the end of the episode contradicted that. Riley's comment "How come everyone can't just believe everything I believe?" was incredibly shallow. It was supposed to be funny, but it fell short in so many ways once Cory began talking. It made it seem like believing in God is what you should do, and being unsure or not believing isn't okay when in reality, it's completely normal. Exploring the possibility of being unsure would have helped the episode a lot and made it far better. It felt like Farkle and Maya's opinion on the matter changed far too quickly. Bringing up that Jefferson thought religion should be a personal choice was good, but I would have liked to see some more on exploring a lack of religion. I also didn't like Farkle's line "Nice assignment, Mr. Matthews." It feels like the writers keep trying to make the classroom scenes better by complimenting Cory on them, but they really still aren't all that great.

    Auggie's subplot was decent. He lost someone that he cared about, and it gave a bit of closure to him. It wasn't great, and I feel like some of the time could have been better used on the Core four's plot, but it could have been worse.

    So the episode had the potential to be fairly good, but it fell flat in many ways, so I'll give it a C. Not the worst episode by a long shot, but it's down in the bottom ten.
    MVP: Sabrina Carpenter was consistently funny in the first half, so I'll give it to her. Corey Fogelmanis also did pretty well, so he's runner up.

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    1. "Nice assignment Mr Matthews" made me want to vomit. WE'RE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE IT, WRITERS. NEVER.

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  13. How come on TV the only options are Yahweh or atheist? They talk about god as if there is only one option available; one very specific option, the omnipotent, omniscient Middle-Eastern real-estate mogul of the Bible. There are pantheists, polytheists, deists, etc. But no, monotheism is your only option!

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    1. I agree. I think they avoided saying anything like Jesus, or bible, or church, to allow for people to insert their own version of god, but when they make it all about Joan of Arc, it's kind of obvious which god they're rooting for.

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    2. It sticks out even more because they're in NEW YORK, which from my understanding, is one of the most diverse cities in America. I live in a small city in Canada and even we have more religious and cultural diversity than GMW.
      If New York is truly that diverse, I feel that they should've shown different types of "believers", so to speak; aside of monotheistic Christians (like Riley and Lucas seem to be), show us an agnostic Buddhist, show us a pantheistic Hindu, show us a polytheistic Pagan kid!
      This could've been an opportunity to learn a bit more about the rest of neglected classroom outside of the main four.

      They *tried* to make it seem non-denominational, but failed when they just assumed that God has to be monotheistic, omniscient and omnipotent. It's only really "inclusive" towards the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), the rest of us are just ignored.
      That being said, sometimes I think being ignored is best; because I've seen mainstream media try and represent "alternative" faiths before (Hindus, Buddhist, Pagans. etc) and it usually ends up being very offensive and woefully inaccurate.

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    3. Funnily enough, the most racially--though not religiously--diverse city in the United States is none other than Houston, Texas.

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    4. I would have been nice if they included room for agnostics, too. Like, I choose to believe, but I don't insist I'm right because there's no proof, like Farkle says. I just believe because it helps me get through the day, not because I'm sure of myself. That might have been a good middle ground for one of the characters.

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  14. Forgot to add: Anyone else think Ben's delivery of the line, "Absolutely :)" when Farkle said something along the lines of "You know what else I learned? :)" was HORRIBLE?

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  15. Hahahahah " Nothing that he said has been addressed, except of course by Lucas's eloquent raspberry blowing." Funny post Sean. I'm not nearly as impassioned as you on the problems with this episode but I appreciate the digs.

    I actually thought Auggie was fine in this episode. It was a nice bit of closure in the episode for him and Ms. Svorski. Much more tolerable than most of his stories.

    I guess I'd give this episode a B maybe? Didn't like it as much as some, but didn't hate it as much as our reviewers seem to. I agree that Cory's bit with the prism was creative. He was trying to say that you can't see the colors but you can see their effects, it was a decent analogy. But what I really appreciated was that the writers chose to put this scene in the apartment! Kudos to the staff for realizing that it would have been in poor taste, and an abuse of power, for him to teach this kind of lesson in a classroom. The lessons at home can be whatever he wants them to be but he kept the one in the classroom as a simple reminder of the right we have to religious freedom. Yeah it probably shouldve ended at that but the Maya scene wasnt insanely unreasonable. Maya's journey for the whole season is learning to believe in things. So what if they decide to throw God into the mix too? I don't see any reason Maya HAS to not believe in God. Especially since it seems that her biggest role models (the Matthews) are in fact Christian, it makes sense she'd give praying a chance. And it was kind of sweet to hear about the things she prayed for. Idk I guess I'm willing to give the writers some lee-way if it means they keep taking risks.

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    1. Thanks a lot for saying that. The comments rarely have anything to do with my writeups anymore, so I will always appreciate when they do.

      I'm not bent up that Maya tried praying, it's mostly Riley's reaction. And that no one tried NOT praying, or not going to church or something. It was only the one side giving a concession, ultimately.

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    2. Definitely a fair point. I guess that's why this episode landed on a B for me. I agree with you but I don't feel strongly enough about it for it to ruin the episode for me.

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    3. I hadn't thought about the lesson taking place in the home vs. the classroom, but it fits and you are right. Explaining his views in the classroom would have been an abuse of power, but in the home he can be more open and honest.

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  16. I pretty much agree with almost everything you said so my own contributions to this discussion will be minimal; I'm firmly in the camp that thinks this episode has no merit towards anything and really didn't need to get made. The confusing way the premise was handled really sells that point home for me.

    It's like they had this concept of an episode in their heads and couldn't figure out how to translate it onto paper, so they gave up halfway through and we're left with the result. I wasn't a fan at all.

    Your review was comedy gold, by the way. Got more enjoyment from reading it than I did from watching the episode.

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    1. Thank you for saying that. It seems like a lot of people ignore what I have to say and just come here to write their own reviews in the comments. And I guess that's fine, but it's really nice to be appreciated.

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  17. Shipping Wars Are StupidNovember 14, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    By the way Sean. Definitely your funniest review in a while. You say that anger can often work better from a writing standpoint and it really worked here.

    Review grade: A+

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  18. Christian, I think you hit the nail on the head, this episode is just inconsequential. It would have had some weight if it was shown in the correct order, but only because of the characters relationships.

    It felt like a first draft that wasnt polished up.

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  19. I want to apologize first and foremost. I let my anger get the best of me a couple hours ago. Christian mentioned that there was a lot of heated arguments. I had a hand in that and for that I am sorry. I didn't intend to start anything, and it would have been much wiser of me to wait a while before commenting. For all my talk about wanting things civil, it is clear I still have very much to learn.

    I didn't like this episode at all. When I first heard about it, I was apprehensive. When Disney Channel said "This episode makes our company better," I was hopeful. Yeah...shouldn't have got my hopes up.

    Sean raised a good point is his review about the things Maya believes in, but I tend to think those were from post-Yearbook episodes, art and forgiveness especially. Really, this episode is early and it's not an episode that is benefited from a delay. The show's gotten more serial this season, so I don't see the logic.

    To compare, an episode like "Girl Meets Brother" has a definite point in the timeline, but you could tell the story, here being the mishaps of Riley baby-sitting her brother pretty much anytime.

    This was the last episode filmed before "Yearbook," so given its tone, I'm inclined to put it somewhere around "Hurricane." Or strike it from the canon. Depends how I feel.

    The set-up is alright. Finding money that isn't yours, what to do with it? There was potential here. Especially if Riley and Maya had turned in the money, eventually had it given to them after a waiting period, and were still split on what to do with it.

    Nickelodeon did that with the show "Doug." The main character turned in an envelope of money to the police, was eventually allowed to claim it as his own, but still tracked down the owner to soothe his conscience.

    Classroom...who am I kidding? I hate the classroom scenes. This one wasn't so bad though. Joan of Arc fits. Thomas Jefferson, not so much. Cory didn't seem like he was intentionally constructing the class around his daughter. It was more like "Here's my lesson. Oh, this is convenient."

    The kids clashing with each other. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Lucas has been here a year and a bit; Farkle and Riley and Maya have been friends since the first grade. This is the first time this has ever come up? I can't believe that. Especially with how pushy Riley and Farkle can be about the things they care about. It feels out of left field. That's all I'll say on the matter.

    Auggie. On the one hand, it's kind of nice to see Auggie talk to Mrs. Svorski. On the other hand, it comes across as a little melodramatic. It's been six months since Season 2 started airing. Most of the audience who doesn't watch the show closely has long since forgotten Mrs. Svorski. Which if that's what the writers intended, is brilliant. But I don't think that's what they intended.

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    1. The Riley-Maya break-up. This lasted less than five minutes. Why the heck did you bother? Was it to give a lesson that if you only hang around with people you agree with, you don't grow? That's an excellent lesson, reminiscent of "Turkey Day," but it doesn't appear to be the intention here.

      And then there's a class presentation at the end where the Core Four are the only ones to talk. Haven't had one of those since...my gosh, was it "New Teacher"? I'm excluding "Cory and Topanga," since Farkle and Lucas gave their presentation on a different day that Riley. The presentations weren't good there, but it felt vaguely classroom-y.

      This episode just feels off. Like they wanted to go big, but didn't. Or couldn't. Or maybe they thought they were going big, when it turns out they weren't.

      Yeah, Sean's review was angry and heated. I can't disagree that this episode didn't deserve the criticism he gave it. And the becoming the physical manifestation of "flabbergasted." Actually, that was really good, Sean. That may be my favorite thing of anything you've ever written. "Flabbergasted." The set-up is fine, but yeah. Flabbergasted at the classroom, especially Thomas Jefferson. Flabbergasted at the idea that this topic has never come up before. Flabbergasted at the break-up between Riley and Maya. Flabbergasted at Riley, once again, not sharing a scene of actual importance with her mother. Or Auggie for that matter--given the epilogue of "Gravity," I could see Riley wanting to speak to Mrs. Svorski too and asking him if she could talk with him. Flabbergasted, flabbergasted, flabbergasted.

      Grade: I threw out my gradebook.

      Episode MVP: Oh, that's right. I switched to Awesome Scene of Awesome.

      Awesome Scene of Awesome: This was not awesome.

      Review MVP: Sean gets a gold star for "Flabbergasted."

      Random Thought: Wouldn't Abraham Lincoln be a better fit for this episode than Jefferson?

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    2. Yeah there was that slight flash of brilliance during the breakup, that "Why do I need you?" when all they do is agree with each other. THAT could have been an episode, but it was so quick and apparently insignificant.

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    3. The question of why the Core Four hangs out together is actually a good one. And I think Riley is actually the glue that holds them together.

      Think of it this way. With no Lucas, we'd have a Power Trio of Farkle, Riley, and Maya. It'd be reminiscent of Lizzie Mcquire in a way. And a few episodes toyed with this--"Popular" and "Farkle's Choice," most notably. And, frankly, I can't see Season One being any worse without Lucas in it, seeing as Riley's entire arc in that season was Lucas Love-Interest.

      With no Farkle, it'd be shipping wars 24/7. Rucas and Lucaya and nothing but. We wouldn't miss out on that many good episodes, but I think Farkle brings more to the group than a lot of people think. Well, a lot more after "Yearbook," at least and I still say he should have done more in "Rileytown." But that's empathy vs. sympathy for you. Both are valid, but if you can have an empathetic character for a conflict, actually use him as such.

      No Zay. Literally no difference. Zay's funny as it gets on this show. But let's face it, he doesn't have any dynamic with Riley that's independent of Lucas or New Guy.

      With no Riley, obviously there's no show. But as far as the Core Four is concerned, it needs Riley to function. Maya said "We need Riley back to get Farkle back." But more to the point, I am certain that we'll learn in Bay Window that Riley's the one who initiated the friendships. Without Riley, Farkle may crush on Maya, but I don't think they'd actually be platonic friends. Without Riley, it is a near-certainty that Lucas and Farkle would have nothing to do with each other, seeing as they had very little in common early on and Lucas was actually rather dismissive of Farkle as anything other than Classmate for quite some time. Without Riley, Maya may be attracted to Lucas, but there'd be no connection to the Matthews and no reason for Maya to want more for herself.

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  20. I actually just did a research paper that involved a lot of research on the religious beliefs of our founding fathers and he was absolutely not an atheist. He believed in god but had problems with the Christian church and clergy. He believed in the teachings of Jesus but thought that they were interpreted wrongly so he tried to write his own bible. I thought it was pretty interesting stuff.

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    1. Jefferson's beliefs were...interesting to say the least. He attended Episcopalian services and identified with Unitarians later in life. Many of his more provocative sayings were from his earlier days.

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  21. Typically when i miss an episode I'll just read the review and be done....but i wanna watch this just to see it. I mean, a disney sitcom discuss religion in some way? That's huge, even if they screw it up. ...Actually, them screwing it up makes it iffy but whatever, i'll see for myself.

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  22. Your review was spot on. A+ for everything you said. I felt a pro-religious agenda being shoved down my throat, and I hated every actor that took part in that. It's obvious they shot this episode way earlier - the characters had regressed through any development in the last few episodes. Honestly, this episode was so creepy. It felt like a twilight zone - especially how Cory just lingered on Auggie's forehead, and cringeworthy exit out the room. Auggie should be written out of the show. They need to get rid of the cheese factor and ask the actors to just be more natural, rather than cartoons or puppets. I'll be back to read more of your reviews. Vive La France.

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    1. Auggie doesn't need to be written out of the show. Actually, I thought this was one of his better episodes. It's about how a child deals with loss, and grief. He still feels a connection to her, and that's okay.

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    2. Yeah, I actually agree about Auggie. and can we say amen to continuity? Auggie was pretty close to the old lady, and one day she was just gone. He's six and was probably told she was in heaven. I found his storyline to be logical and realistically plausible.

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    3. People keep saying that in every comment section, that "X was realistic therefore I liked it." Well pooping is realistic too, but I don't want to see any bathroom breaks on the show. Did Auggie BRING something to this episode? Did you learn something or take something away here? What value did he have for you?

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    4. When you put it like that, I see what you mean. Instead of Auggie's story, I would have liked more time with Riley, Maya, Lucas, and Farkle. They could have done a bit more with the main characters, and had a few more minutes to explore some pretty deep and important issues.

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  23. Worst episode ever. Grade F for the episode. It made no sense. Air has no colour! Air was not being refracted, it was visible white light being dispersed through all its components! There was so much fail in this episode. Cory fails as a teacher. Farkle fails as a smart kid. Science and rationality literally died on this episode. RIP

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  24. I really liked this episode, to many people get bent out of shape when you talk about God. if you don't believe that's fine, that is your God given agency. if you do believe, then enjoy the victory that religious freedom, and goodness was shared by a world increasingly pulled away by the media into sin and apostasy. I particularly liked the part about the prism. just as our children have the potential to be like us, we all have the potential to be like our father in heaven. so the prism is a fitting analogy, the light of God was sent to the earth (Adam and Eve) and was slowed when partaking of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil (becoming mortal = prism). and their posterity were all the colors, or personalities of God (fitting that they also liken personalities to colors) by getting married, and having righteous families, we combine our colors, learn from eachother and together become closer to Gods pure light. This is my believe and what my wife and I lovingly taught to our children once we watched this episode. I'm sure some of you will reject what I say instantly, and other will be swayed by the negativity of those people. but if you sincerely ask God, he "...giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not."

    anyways, I really like the episode grade A+ for me, as they normally are. keep it up writers, directors, and actors!!

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    1. The issue is acting like Christianity is the only religion out there; not only is it problematic, it is also dishonest.

      Many so-called Christians believe in "religious freedom" for themselves, but they'll be damned before they think any other faith deserves.

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  25. This episode was a good idea with poor execution. I like the idea of an episode dealing with faith and belief. I think the ending should have been Maya is unsure if she believes in God, but that she does believe in other things: love, friendship, the power of art and creativity.

    With Farkle, show that science and religion are not an either/or proposition. There are unknowns, and until the unknowns are known/proven/disproven, there is a space for faith. This is often phrased as "Did God cause the big bang?"

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  26. this episode completely sucked but this is the funniest review on this blog

    review grade: A+
    mvp: sean

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  27. Random and unrelated, but is there a Liv and Maddie reviewed place like this anywhere out there. I feel that show to be more consistent than others.....

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  28. Busy weekend but I finally got to watch GM Belief. And, I came away very underwhelmed and disappointed. They went too big for their own good, and suffered for it. I think they ran right past what could have made this a really good episode. They didn't need to make this about God and religion. They were totally non committal, because they didn't want to be seen as taking sides. The stuff I did like were when Cory was initially asking about what they, as kids, believed in. And, when the girls tried to separate, along with some pretty good pieces of dialogue. Aside from those brief things, the rest of this was vitriolic nothingness. Arguments that never scratched beyond the surface of the discussion, and the pre-Texas feel was past obvious. We had seen so much growth, that this episode felt very out of place.

    Don't really care about the Auggie story, but I can understand a little kid doing that. So, it gets a pass from me.

    Episode Grade: C
    Episode MVP: I'm not going to name one this week, because the whole episode was just blah.

    The Real MVP: Sean and his fantastic review.

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    1. Thanks for the shoutout. I'm sorry but I have to keep calling people out on Auggie. The fact that he did something an eight year old might do is not justification. Did it actually BRING something to the episode? Did you take something away from it? Was there any value in what he did? Did it entertain you? I'm honestly asking, because that's my problem with it. I don't see how it has any value, regardless of whether it's realistic or not. Every comment section is full of people saying "X was realistic and so it's okay," but that's not a justification.

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    2. I'm on record as not liking Auggie on the show, however I did actually enjoy him on this episode. The interaction with Topanga at the beginning I thought was entertaining. I thought Auggie's B-Plot also tied into the A-Plot rather well. To me, it showed how the power of belief can be beneficial to anybody, but especially a child. Auggie uses his belief that Ms. Svorski can hear him and still talk to him as a way to deal with the pain of losing someone close to him. It helps him cope with loss and move on in life. A major reason people believe in a higher power is it helps give them strength and something else to look to when life isn't going well. Also like it was said earlier by a few posters, I believe Maya being an impressionable 8th grader, who is surrounded in her life by people that she loves and trusts that believe in God, would pray after the conversations that took place in this episode. Neither she nor Farkle actually convert or get baptized in this episode so I don't think that was an unrealistic view of how 8th graders would experiment with religion. I actually enjoyed Riley in the tag scene learning how to be unselfish with prayers. That is often difficult for children or even adults who try to live a Christian lifestyle to realize. I guess I differ somewhat from some of the posters here when I say that Christians are taught to spread the word of God through actions and stories or testimonies. So I have no problem with Riley or Lucas telling the others about the beauty of believing in God. I don't feel it was forced too strongly (ie Believe in God or go to Hell). I work in a field of mostly atheist/agnostic believers (Nuclear Engineering). I understand where Farkle is coming from in his initial arguments. If you have someone with a scientific mind it is hard to justify that belief in something that numbers cannot demonstrate. On a side note if Farkle was a real person he would eventually realize that the science community is full of different sects in itself that "believe" in different core theories related to molecular chemistry and astrophysics. My own personal reasoning is that I have witnessed too many coincidences that are difficult to explain with logical scientific reasoning along with the comfort that believing in God has given me when I have questioned aspects of my life. Sometimes you just need something in your life that not even family or friends can give you.

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    3. I don't know the full house kids made a living off of being cute. Maybe that is what they were going for with auggie. But all in all I actually found his story to be pretty good. It was intriguing to show the quiet expressions of belief and how those beliefs manifest in children and help them cope with things like loss. And the jokes weren't half bad. Cory shouting , "Topanga I need you!!!" was pretty good. As was Auggie's "I mean, I do pray. I pray in the bathtub. I pray I won't get sucked down the drain. " I think all of that adds up to enough value to justify a B-story.

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    4. That's a fair point, Seth, about Riley learning to be unselfish with prayers...but at the same time, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for her character. If she's been raised religious, then she is most certainly familiar with praying for others..

      Riley can be pretty self-centered, there's no denying it, but I wouldn't go so far as to call her greedy.
      I'm trying to articulate the best I can here, but from my perspective, are we really supposed to believe that Riley only prays selfish prayers?
      I can't believe that, not after the last two seasons of seeing how devoted she is to her friends.

      I cannot comprehend that Riley would not be praying for Maya's well-being every single night. Pray that Maya is happy. Pray that the art program stays for Maya's sake. Pray that Shawn and Katy will get married and can give Maya a family.

      I'm not saying that the scene itself was bad at all. And really, I don't even think the "Yay!" was that bad. I'm just asking whether or not it makes much sense, for Riley, daughter of Cory and Topanga, to only pray for herself.

      But I do agree with you. Religion may be a personal choice, as well it should be, but I always loved hearing testimonies from people. I agree, Christians are taught to spread the Gospel. "Go forth and make disciples of all nations."

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    5. Cryptid, I see your point, the writers probably went a little two extreme with Riley's phrasing in the tag scene. I'm sure they were trying to show a stark difference in Maya never praying for herself and Riley always praying for herself. It is more realistic to believe Riley the character spending more time praying for others like Maya or Katy. Riley does have a bit of the world revolves around me trait that shows up every now and then which most people also have. I think the writers probably placed a little too much of the lesson in Riley's part of the tag scene instead of including what Riley would actually say. The average teenager would likely come closer to say Riley's line than Riley herself.

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    6. To be fair, I doubt Riley would have nearly as large a complex of "the world revolves around me" if Cory's classroom scenes were written competently. And from what I remember, she doesn't seem quite as selfish as Cory did at her age.

      I actually think the writers missed something with the concept of prayer, rather than belief. This was the last episode filmed before Yearbook but I'd place it somewhere around Hurricane in continuity, what with that episode being about Maya embracing hope.

      It doesn't take much imagination to see Maya snapping that "Riley, I prayed and it didn't work! I prayed every night for a year for my father to come home and he didn't!" But that's probably too confrontational. That said it would have worked better. As Sean has said several times, anger is a more powerful emotion than sadness and it could work well here.

      In any event, Riley reminds me very much of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews. Faith and hope are major themes of that book.

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    7. To honestly answer your question, Sean, no. It didn't entertain me, and I didn't take anything from it. It didn't move the needle for me at all. And I guess that's kinda of why I gave it a pass. I'm not in the Auggie camp, either, but if he's just there then it really doesn't hinder anything, in my opinion. Now, if he really was a detriment to the ability to tell a story, I will justifiably rip him for it.

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    8. Cryptid why do you say Cory was selfish? In Season 2? I'm not arguing , just curious what it's based on.

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    9. That's fair question Tim. Maybe "selfish" isn't quite the right word.

      While Cory hadn't yet quite evolved from the class clown into a neurotic eighty-year-old man in a teenager's body, I would argue that Cory was a bit more self-absorbed than Riley at that age, and certainly more so as time went on.

      Most of Riley's selfishness appears to come from what will benefit the Core Four, rather than just herself. I think it does boil down to Riley having a slightly larger circle of friends, than just one.
      The only real exceptions to this, where Riley acts like a spoiled brat, are "Gravity," "Crazy Hat" (My least favorite Season 1 episode. I'll elaborate more on this when we finally get to "Commonism") and "Meets the Forgotten."

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  29. Christian basically explained why I haven't commented on this one yet and why I don't plan to get into it. This WAS a Kirk Cameron movie, in fact I was half-expecting him to pop up halfway through as this guy on the street or something who convinces Maya to believe.

    Also I can't fathom why Disney thinks this episode "makes their company better".

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  30. I generally like the show, but after watching the 2nd and 3rd season of BMW I need to make a small rant.
    I find a couple of things that I really miss in this show compared to BMW.

    One is the grownups which GMW is seriously lacking. It has completely lost the interesting grown-up stories that Cory's parents and the teachers (Feeny's vs Turner's methods) often had. They gave good advice, different perspectives, often learned themselves. In GMW the few grownups we have are rather one dimensional and childish themselves. It doesn't really feel like Corey and Topanga have grown up, like they're leading grown-up lives with grown-up problems. It's like joking and kids is all they are now. I'd love a story about just them.

    It also doesn't really feel like she's (they're) meeting the real world because the show is so tame and neat. It's like at least 80% of their experiences and growth comes from discussing weird school tasks and their friendship. What about family interactions, events, dating, interests, hobbies. They have some of that but way too little, tame and nearly always it's tied to a school task. I'm getting tired of the repetitive kiddy format. Make them experience something serious, unusual, real, not just think about stuff, make them learn something that's not a school lesson.
    Texas, forgiveness, the aspergers and a few others kind of did that. I want more of that. And it's like her daddy is leading her by the hand through all the life lessons she encounters. In a show about growing up I'd expect more independence.

    I'd also really love for them to have actual school experience with studying, tests, failure, not just quirky life assignments that they ace every time (judging by which Maya should have an A in history).

    I generally do like the show, and I think it's getting better, but it could be much more.

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    1. "tame and neat," I 100% agree. Their lives are so. fucking. easy. The only thing close to hardship was Riley being bullied, but literally the entire school showed up to support her.

      "daddy is leading her by the hand" ABSOLUTELY. Cory has a clear point A to point B plan in almost every episode. It's gotta stop.

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    2. "It's like at least 80% of their experiences and growth comes from discussing weird school tasks and their friendship."

      I completely agree with you Evi. What's missing from Girl Meets World is a sense of...events, for want of a better word. Riley and her friends don't actually do much other than go to school. Sure, the majority of Boy Meets World was about school, but Cory and Shawn got into mischief--the time Shawn changed the school paper, the time Cory caught the chemistry lab on fire, the assorted times Cory and Shawn got into trouble with Harley and his friends.

      It also doesn't help matters that the Core Four acts so often as a unit. We don't usually see any one-on-one interaction between anybody other than Riley and Maya, or at least interaction that's meant to be separate from the life lesson. I don't even think I can remember the last time Riley and Farkle interacted on their own accord, that had nothing to do with school, that's set before "Texas" in continuity.

      "Daddy is leading her by the hand."

      I agree. This not only needs to change, it allows for an excellent potential story. An arc where Cory realizes he can no longer protect Riley and Maya from the world would be very good. As I recall Sean, you loved that arc when Alan realized he couldn't coddle Eric any longer in Seasons 4-5 of the original show.

      With as much focus as they put on Cory's classroom, it baffles me that they made him their history teacher. I know, Feeny 2.0 and all, but I still think the moralistic nature of the show could be told more smoothly through an English classroom, where they have to read assorted books. Sure the format would be the same, but at least it'd make a bit more sense.

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    3. Wow Evi, that was one of the best explanations I've heard. You are 100% right. Maybe i'm giving the show too much credit but I think a lot of these problems might be fixed when they go to high school based on interviews with the writers and actors on the show. They seem to be taking the transition really seriously and I'm hoping to see a lot of the stuff you talked about in the third season. Fingers crossed!

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    4. Grade for Evi's post: Distinction and a Letter of Commendation from Mr. Feeny himself.

      There's definitely potential in the things to come, Good Looking Detective. And not only that, a lot of the problems Girl Meets World has are things that can actually be written into the show.

      The question I have is what actually happened to this show when it was in pre-production. After the pilot was filmed, back when Cory acted as an authority figure in his clasroom and Riley still had a big brother named Elliot, the show apparently went under "creative development."

      Other than letting Elliot go and replacing him with Auggie, I have no idea what those changes were, though I wonder whether or not they decided to declaw Cory as a teacher.
      Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network all have a vibe of "Kids Rule!" and have done so for most of their run, so I suppose it's possible.

      Delete
    5. That would be really sad if Corry's lack of authority was an actual decision. It's hard to believe it. Though "kids rule" does seem to be a trend (and would also explain why the kid/grownup proportions are so very different from the original).
      Considering Feeny (who was one of the best parts of the show) and the fact that this is supposed to be about the real world (where authority is an important part) it's hard to believe the creators would do something like this to their show. Though on the other hand ...Disney!

      I hope it gets better. High school could introduce a lot of changes. BMW also improved with this transition.

      Delete
  31. Numbers are in guys.

    Girl Meets Belief plugged in at 2.1 million viewers. I don't know about any other shows in the Disney line-up, but apparently Nickelodeon tanked that night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not to be an ass, but everything tanked Friday night. GMW was the number 2 scripted cable show Friday, about where it always is. Ratings were down Friday night for all scripted shows and way up for all the news channels. People were tuned in to see what happened in Paris Friday. There are numerous stories online showing that.

      So it isn't like people didn't want to see this episode and didn't tune in, circumstances beyond the control of Disney were the apparent cause.

      Delete
    2. 1960, you're one of my favorite regulars.

      If anything, I feel really, really stupid for not putting two and two together about the line-up and the chaos in Paris.

      Delete
    3. Don't feel bad, I didn't realize it either until I read a few of those articles. The fact that I get my news via the internet and other folks still watch the TV news never occurred to me, but it makes sense when you think about it.

      Delete
    4. I pay close attention to the ratings, and have for a little while across the 2 kids networks. Let me say that even without the events in Paris, GMW would have won the night. Simply because they just do. They win on Friday, beat DC Sundays and destroy whatever Nick is bringing to the finish line.

      Delete
    5. Did this episode really lose that many kid viewers though?

      There's some way to break it down and the numbers are that GMW generally gets about a half million adult viewers in the 18*45 demographic. Obviously with the chaos of the attacks in Paris, adults were watching the news.

      Hey, 1960 what did you think of this episode itself? I don't think you ended up leaving any commentary. Other than your comment about the Designated Hitter in Baseball.

      Delete
    6. Cryptid, the people that have ratings boxes are probably the ones more likely to have been watching the news about the Paris attacks. While it is certainly possible and maybe probable that a lot of kids watched it online or with the app as it was shown, the ratings don't take that into account.

      As for the episode, I got unexpectedly busy Saturday and couldn't do my write up. By the time I was able to, I saw the stuff that had been posted here and decided not to get into the debate. Talking about religion or politics is always an iffy proposition. I will say though, without getting into specifics, that I loved it and right now it is in my top 5 for the season. Obviously YMMV, and by what I have seen posted, most everyone else's did. To each his own.

      Delete
    7. Yeah, I see your point. Three things I've learned never to discuss on the Internet. Religion. Politics. And the Great Pumpkin.

      Delete
  32. Got some tweets and Disney advertising for "New Years":

    Girl Meets Writers ‏@GMWWriters · Nov 14
    Next: New Year. Who will be with each other at Midnight? And is that important? Yes.

    Girl Meets Writers ‏@GMWWriters · 7 hours ago
    Next: Lucaya. Unless Farkle starts the new year with the truth.
    Farkle: I did the right thing.



    According to the Disney sysopsis for "New Years": Farkle gives Riley until midnight to tell her friends how she feels about Lucas or he will.

    So I would bet nothing clears up and everything is more of a mess than when "Texas" ended. Nice to see that Farkle will make good on his threat, and more importantly, the writers are going to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here are some "New Years" pics: https://www.instagram.com/makeluck/

      Delete
    2. And with that, any ability to make a coherent time-line goes out the window. "Texas" clearly takes place late in the school year, and we're jumping six months?

      Delete
    3. While it may seem like "Texas" should take place late in the school year, like about spring break, it apparently takes place between Halloween and New Years. I'll assume that it happened over the Thanksgiving holiday (they said it was a weekend and that gives them travel time as well).

      Disney's year round scheduling does indeed make it hard to fit the happenings of this show into a school year timeline, and that is a pain considering that the writers tend to start and end the season in conjunction with that school year. Basically, we got 27 episodes that happen before the New Year, then 2 ("Bay Window" and "Legacy") that happen after, regardless of when they actually show them. Hopefully for season 3 we open with some summer episodes to get the timing better. The writers were reminded that they don't do a lot of those at all during a Q&A in the past and they acknowledged that and said they probably should.

      Delete
    4. But that's mathematically impossible to have all the first 27 episodes before the New Year.

      I've wondered a couple of times whether or not this season is actually meant to take place over two years, but it doesn't fit, seeing as the kids are consistently said to be eighth graders.

      What's going on over at Disney, anyhow? You'd think this show, more than any other, would be easy to set up an airing schedule for.

      Delete
    5. I agree that this show, in particular, lends itself very well to a school year type of scheduling. Problem is, DC doesn't care about how it matches up. They rarely do, considering all their shows feature school age kids and some of their plots focus around school.

      Delete
    6. Heck, "Semi-formal" established winter as being five months previously, which is why I thought of the two-year season thing.

      Yeah...say what you will about the content Disney may or may not allow--GMW is cheesy as all get out and even then it's probably the most mature show on the network--but the whole airing schedule thing really is something that bugs me.
      I mean, really? Why not have your.school-based shows like GMW and Liv and Maddie set on the school year, which corresponds nicely to the airing schedules on broadcast television and then during the summer air shows like Bunk'd, which being set at a summer camp has no business airing in November.

      The airing out of order is usually just annoying but this was not-particularly-important filler and it's easy to put back together, "Belief" is probably right around "Hurricane" in the timeline and "Texas" is obviously set right after "Semi-formal" with everything else post-Yearbook being pre-Formal.

      It's good to hear from you, pwfan. And 1960, I do agree that it's nice to see Farkle take some action here.

      Delete
    7. I'm okay with episodes not airing during the right time of year. I loved it when channels did Christmas in July. What bothers me is a lack of a clear time-line. There are story-arcs, and character development, which makes it hard to watch them out of order. The writers clearly had a time-line in their head when they wrote the episodes. Baring an absolute disaster, there is no reason to change the order the writers' intended.

      Delete
    8. Actor availability plays a role in episodes too. Take the Shawn episodes. Sure they have to be watched in order, in themselves, but there's nothing that indicates that "Pluto" happens as early as it does or "Hurricane" as late as it does. They just need to be watched "Pluto" and then "Hurricane," so long as one watches them before "Yearbook."

      The Mr. Squirrels episodes, on the other hand, are almost certainly meant to be seen very close to each other, with "Semi-formal" taking place much later.

      On that note of guest stars, Shawn's due for at least one more episode this season. He's supposed to reunite with Minkus as well. If Shawn hasn't been around since "Hurricane," then he missed Farkle's growth spurt. There's a couple of good jokes in there.

      And what about the weather? I get that the show is filmed in Los Angelos, but it's set in New York. Where's the snow and rain? I mean, a few episodes appear to be set in late spring, judging from the lighting of "Semi-formal" and "Texas," but other than that, it's anybody's guess.

      And then there are episodes that cannot fit into the timeline whatsoever--"Fish" comes into play here. Riley's the last of sixteen students to take the class fish home, so it's at least seventeen weeks into the school year. That would put it into the beginning of the second semester. But Farkle's pet fish Chelsea is clearly seen in the pet memorial during "Farkle's Choice," an episode that is almost certainly set within the first month or so of the school year, at the latest judging from it being Smackle's introduction.
      I did the math. "Fish" cannot be canon.

      Delete
    9. Cryptid, I agree that a lot of this stuff should have been late in the school year, but by continuing the "Texas" story in "New Years", the writers painted themselves into a corner. If they had just done a generic holiday episode and skipped the arc, things probably could have been worked into a realistic timeline, but no. About all we can do is enjoy the story and disregard the dates.

      Delete
    10. Dream sequence? It wouldn't be the first time the Feeny-verse had a Dream Sequence Episode.

      Delete
    11. Cryptid456- They can shoot the episodes in any order they want. I understand how television production works. My problem isn't the production order, it's the order Disney Channel is airing them. As others have said, this show lacks a coherent time-line. It works against the idea of having story-arcs and character developments. Can you imagine how messed BMW would have been if they aired in first run as out of order as GMW episodes?

      1960poster-You have the right idea. Instead of New Year's, have it set at a make-out party, where there's pressure to kiss someone at a certain time or when something happens. "Wonder Years" did a great episode about a make-out party.

      Delete
    12. Kit, I'm sure that the writers had a coherent story arc and timeline set up, but as you said the suits at Disney screwed things up bad. When they got forced to shoot and air "Yearbook" and "Semi-Formal" early so it would fit into the Sounds of Summer event they had a lot of early episodes they hadn't aired yet and a timeline that was all wacky because we hadn't gotten to Halloween yet. Then they shoved 5 episodes into October instead of holding "Texas" back until after the holidays when it would have made the dates make more sense. So now we are where we are.

      Hopefully Jacobs can convince the Disney execs to be more reasonable with the season 3 airing order.

      Delete
  33. http://www.ksitetv.com/girl-meets-world/girl-meets-world-girl-meets-the-new-year-promo-images/87749/

    Interrim post: Christian and Sean write Girl Meets the New Year using promo photos? I'd read that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually think Sean and I will likely take the next couple weeks off. I'm swamped this weekend, and then we have Thanksgiving. But certainly we'll have something for you guys during the month long break between New Year's and Sludge.

      Delete
    2. http://www.ksitetv.com/girl-meets-world/girl-meets-world-girl-meets-the-new-year-promo-images/87749/nggallery/image/141188_5353/

      Man, this one picture of Charlie Gardner is like 90's Shawn reencarnted. That boy is a charmer even in stills (Lucas' actor is better looking, but he is not even one quarter as charming).

      And ugh, at the description. Lucas feelings are unimportant, and Maya's at that, the only thing that matter is what Riley wants or not. Its ridiculous.

      Delete
    3. ooooooooooooooooooooooo charlieeeeeeeeeee

      Delete
    4. Honestly, when I first saw the picture, my first thought was "Oh, my God. Shawn's back! And he's young again!"

      Delete
    5. I thought I was the only one who thought that suddenly Charlie looked just like a young Shawn. I'm glad I'm not.

      Delete
  34. In regards to Season 3 - will they/won't they - some new evidence that season 3 is pretty much assured. Disney just released a new group of wand promos for the stars of their newer shows as well as 2 new promos for kids that have aged pretty significantly since their original promo was filmed. They did new ones for the kid that plays Parker on Liv & Maddie and a brand new one for Rowan. If you haven't seen it, here it is - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GOzazJlkpk

    There is no way they do that if they don't plan on using it for another season or two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link, my friend.

      1960, you're always the one to post the links on this blog.

      Do you now, or have you ever, worked for Disney?

      Delete
    2. No Cryptid, not in the entertainment business, I'm just an IT guy with too much time on his hands. On another note looks like "Meets Sludge" has been renamed "Meets STEM" (STEM = science, technology, engineering and math) and should air January 8th.

      Sludge was a pretty bad name to begin with, so this makes it a little better but still not really descriptive.

      Delete
    3. Sludge makes it sound like it's about pollution or a plumbing problem, but STEM sounds like it more accurately reflects the topic/story

      Delete
    4. "Sludge was a pretty bad name to begin with, so this makes it a little better but still not really descriptive."
      Yeah, who's in charge of the names of the episodes for this series? I know that the gimmick of "Every Episode Title Is The Same" isn't exactly new, but still. I mean, compared to some of the gems the original gave us--"We'll Have A Good Time Then," "Learning To Fly," "Brother, Brother," "I'm Gonna Be Like You Dad," "I Don't Wanna Spray Lettuce No More." .

      "Sludge makes it sound like it's about pollution or a plumbing problem, but STEM sounds like it more accurately reflects the topic/story"

      Not sure how I feel about the story. I know what they're trying to do of course. Get girls interested in science. It just seems a little too on-the-nose, especially since Riley hasn't shown much interest in science before. Could make the lesson fall a little flat.

      Delete
    5. This very well could be another case of good idea, poor execution, but whatever happens "Girl Meets STEM" is a more accurate/descriptive title than "Girl Meets Sludge."

      Delete
    6. It's not so much good idea, poor execution. It's an idea, good or bad, that may only be used for only one episode. Except for Lucas-related material, has Riley had an arc of her own at all?

      And judging from the screenshots in the link below Isadora does not appear to be in this episode. Which is definitely a missed mark, seeing as Isadora is interested in science.

      Delete
    7. I swear, if Cory gives an assignment on Madame Curie, I am going to beat my head against my desk until I die.

      Delete
    8. Smackle is into science, but she doesn't attend JQA, so no real reason for her to be involved in this. Also, this episode was written and filmed before Farkle and Smackle became an item, so not even the romantic connection to pull her in.

      Also as far as your Riley question, other than her romantic interest in Lucas the only Riley stories I can think of are "Rah-Rah" and "Cory &Topanga". That's still 1 more story than Farkle has gotten so far this year. Having said that, BMW did a lot of one-off things that we never heard about again so it shouldn't be a surprise that this is going to happen.

      Delete
    9. I swear, if Cory gives an assignment on Madame Curie, I am going to beat my head against my desk until I die.

      Delete
    10. Sean, we'll need video evidence of this if it happens.

      Delete
    11. "I swear, if Cory gives an assignment on Madame Curie, I am going to beat my head against my desk until I die."

      Those are kind of my thoughts--which is a shame, considering Madame Curie is a perfectly valid idea for a classroom. Middle school can do units on Similar Themes in History, just as easily as they can do a Timeline.

      Judging from the screenshots, it looks like Farkle might be the Science Teacher's favorite. But I can't help but think that an episode that takes umbrage with that falls short on two fronts.
      A. Farkle probably earned the favoritism by actually putting extra effort in the class.
      B. Cory's middle name is Favoritism.

      And may I address 1960's point about Farkle only having had one story?

      Farkle might not have had more than one episode to himself, but darn it if he hasn't had more development this season than any of the other Core Four who, to be fair, are stuck in that blasted love triangle.

      He's grown like six inches, got a real haircut, started putting some self-respect into his wardrobe--which puts his whining about how good Lucas looks to rest, has toned down his role in the classroom antics significantly, has become a confidante for Riley's emotions, acknowledges that Riley's emotions need to be addressed immediately, put "laaaaaaaaaaaadies" to rest once and for all...

      Dang, looks like Farkle might be getting my Season MVP once we get into
      "Season 2-A Look Back" in February. Or at least Most Improved. Credit where credit is due. Every other kid-sitcom would have kept him in "Laaaaaaadies" Mode for four years.

      Delete
    12. Cryptid, I was only making my point about Farkle's stories in contrast to your talking about how few Riley had gotten. Truthfully Lucas has really only had 2 himself ("Secret of Life", "Texas") and it seems like Maya has gotten the lion's share of episodes focused on her ("Rules", "Tot", "Hurricane", "Forgiveness") this season.

      As far as character growth, I agree that Farkle has grown tremendously this year (I really miss "Ladies" myself) but I think Maya has changed just as much this year. She went from being "Shawn lite" in the pilot to pretty much a typical eighth grader. Really, if Riley didn't keep telling us that Maya's life is awful, there would be no way to tell from what we see in the episodes. The only growth we've seen from Lucas, besides physically maturing, is he doesn't have such a stick up his ass in class when Zay is in the episode. Other than that he is pretty much the same character we were introduced to in the pilot. But even that is more growth than we've seen from Riley so far. Other than the fact that she is 14 now and not 12, Riley is pretty much exactly the same from the start of the series until now. A classic poster child for "how do we learn so much each week yet still seem so stupid" (paraphrasing from "Eric Hollywood")? For a coming of age show the star seems to be standing still more than anyone.

      Delete
    13. I agree with you, 1960, on most points. And let the record show that I do very much enjoy this show.

      While Riley may be rather flat in terms of character development--heck, in "Rileytown," Farkle explicitly told her that she shouldn't change anything about herself--at least she's still funny. Lucas, without Zay to play with, is still boring as boring can be.

      But I wouldn't go so far as to say that Riley hasn't changed that much. In Season One, she hero-worshiped Maya. Not so much now--a few episodes this season have shown that Riley has more or less embraced being herself.
      While that in itself is fine, Riley doesn't actually do very much. She and Maya don't cause mischief; Riley isn't in any clubs other than cheerleading, which may come back but probably not this season; really, she doesn't do very much at all. Evi said much the same thing a few comments up.

      Part of me wonders whether or not this has anything to do with the leads being girls this time. Looking back, many of the more recent of the live-action Disney heroines don't cause much trouble. I can't help but remember how much mischief the Suite Life kids got into.

      In any case, I've said before that there have been quite a few episodes that could have fleshed out Riley's character--"Popular" could have firmly established her as a science-fiction fan which was hinted at in "Brother" with the space soap opera she watched when she should have been baby-sitting; "Rules" would have been one of the best episodes of the series if Riley had revealed that she actually does know the various quirks of her normally silent classmates; "Smackle" could have had Riley on the debate team, not because she enjoys it, but because she thinks Topanga would like it; "Cory & Topanga" could have set a firm foundation for Riley to give herself life goals; literally anything that reminds us that Riley is actually Farkle's second in terms of grades would be nice. Anything that isn't Love Interest Lucas would be nice.

      A lot of these things are things that should have been done at the very beginning of this show. Female protagonists on Disney have a tendency to be rather average if there's no fantastic plot. Lizzie McQuire and Teddy of "Good Luck Charlie" were both very normal.

      Oh and not that it matters, but I think the writers could have turned "You're Cory with Topanga's hair" into a running gag. Shawn said it. Jack could have said it if he met Riley before Cory introduced them. Feeny could have said it. Or Mr. Turner, if it hadn't been established they already knew one another.

      Delete
    14. Yeah, with the jumbled order it’s kind of hard to track the growth they keep saying is the theme of the second season.

      Cory as puppet-master was something I didn’t take much note of until it starting accumulating negative commentary. Even then, I was fairly indifferent. But now I think I might want to see STEM flow from a classroom assignment. Sean outraged makes for an enjoyable review.

      Delete
    15. Here's the thing, it's about timing. In BMW episodes you probably haven't gotten to yet, it proceeds this way:

      Lesson in class -> Problem in kids' lives -> Kids adapt the lesson to their lives. And that works.

      But in GMW the first two are switched.
      Problem in kids' lives -> CORY CONCOCTS A SCHEMEY LESSON TO TEACH THEM SOMETHING SPECIFIC TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM, IGNORING THE OTHER STUDENTS -> Kids adapt lesson to their lives.

      So it's about timing. If Cory sees the kids arguing about women in science, and THEN gives them a scheme lesson about Curie, that's when the nausea happens.

      Delete
    16. As far as I can tell, "STEM" takes place in their science class, so I will be very disappointed if Cory gets involved in this in his class. Feeny wasn't always involved when the class story involved Eli or Turner.

      Delete
    17. So far I haven’t discerned any pattern with the lessons on BMW. When it seems there is a connection, it has felt more like thematic resonance than cause and effect.

      I completely understand why what GMW does on this score annoys. Now that it has been brought to my attention, I probably won’t be able to shrug it off the way I do most of the cheese and juvenilia I have been accepting as the price of admission.

      Delete
    18. Speaking of BMW, how much was I supposed to have liked Band on the Run? I didn’t really respond that well to it. It seemed basically like unaccountable stupidity leading to cringing embarrassment, which neatly combines my two least favourite sitcom things.

      On the other hand, at least part of my childhood was spent regarding The Monkees as “the only band that matters.” So it was kind of an unexpected delight to see Mickey Dolenz. (In a weird coincidence, my double Blu-ray set of Beatles’ promo videos showed up in the mail, and I saw Michael Nesmith pop up unexpectedly there, about an hour after watching Band on the Run.)

      Delete
    19. Band on the Run is a one-and-done. I've got another 60-70 years of my life and I probably won't watch it again. The Monkees are in more episodes, so that's not even a selling point.

      Delete
    20. Sean, you spoiled the surprise! The entire joke about the Monkees is that their appearances are not a spectacle until the one scene they're all together.

      Though I have to say that you did an excellent job explaining why Cory is a lousy teacher.

      The only redeeming thing, in terms of story, about "Band on the Run" is that it gives a significant foreshadowing line. Topanga and Amy both mention that Cory and Alan look "so cute with your little guitar(s)."

      Delete
    21. It was just a pleasant moment of surprise in an otherwise, at best, forgettable episode. I agree it’s not a selling point. My affection for the Monkees waned considerably after childhood.

      I would later discover I had been mostly listening to the Wrecking Crew anyway. If I had read and understood the significance of the credits on those albums, and to tie this tangent back to the Belief episode, I might have embraced skepticism much earlier in life.

      Don’t worry, Cryptid. I might well forget that tidbit.

      Delete
  35. Not really relevant to any discussion here, but news for GMW is news for GMW.

    Apparently "Girl Meets Sludge" may be re-titled "Girl Meets Stem," which is probably a typo for "Girl Meets STEM."

    http://www.disneyabcpress.com/disneychannel/shows/girl-meets-world/episodes/girl-meets-sludge/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Half an hour more like. That's when I found out. Just didn't post it right away.

      Delete
  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Disney just released the "New Year" promo - here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSWJeC1cDGQ

    Farkle is a man of his word. It looks surprisingly good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you 1960! This episode looks really good. Or at the very least, we're moving the plot forward, timeline be damned.

      And August Maturo more or less confirmed Season 3: https://instagram.com/p/-Sp9eTCNZ4/?taken-by=makeluck

      So Disney hasn't confirmed it per se, it's a given.

      Delete
    2. And with that, my dear 1960poster and brother Shipping Wars, our good friend Farkle wins Season MVP this year. Good for him. This blasted love triangle has gone on long enough. There's nothing like just tugging off the Band-aid with one solid yank.

      And a moment of silence for our late friend, the timeline.
      *Takes off hat and bows head.*

      Delete
    3. Cryptid, what makes you think that this triangle will end here? I mean did you see everyone's face when he blurted it out? I would assume that it just gets worse until maybe Lucas grows a spine and tells both girls to take a hike until they grow the hell up. And it can't end well for Charlie, it just can't. Unless maybe he ends up with Sarah and makes Sean's day.

      Delete
    4. I never said that I thought the Love Triangle was over. Cause, unfortunately, it's not. But we're finally making progress. Sean and Christian had a good point in their "Texas 3" review. We didn't actually move very far. But this...is movement, of a sort I guess.

      It's more the "Will They? Won't They?" aspects of the triangle that I despise. If one of the girls was in a relationship with Lucas, and the other pining, I wouldn't mind it so much. But all we get is, "I like him. But I won't actually tell him." "I want to protect Riley." "Maya deserves to be happy." And it's been like this for two years.

      Farkle blurting it out at least allows for it to finally, finally be confronted. And Lucas either needs to grow a spine, or go to a different high school than the rest of the kids. If we're stuck with this in Season 3, I will...think very rude thoughts.

      Delete
  38. Hey look everybody. It's Pluto! Riley and Farkle would love this.

    http://www.nasa.gov/feature/a-day-on-pluto-a-day-on-charon

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wow wow wow. In the last scene the core four are standing in line and they're dressed so they make a kind of rainbow. Cory said the prism is God refracted so the four kids standing together like that is God refracted. Even if you hate it that's pretty damn cool isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh really? That's...well, I suppose it depends on what you thought of the episode.

      Having said that, there's been quite a bit of using the kids' expansive wardrobes to illustrate episode themes.

      Take "Flaws," for example. As annoying as Riley winning the Spirit Award is, the scene actually shows not only the Core Four, but also Billy the One-shot Bully wearing one of Farkle's turtlenecks. Riley's wearing the orange one, which is later established to be Farkle's favorite.

      And we've seen Maya wear several of the outfits Shawn bought her since "Hurricane." And as I recall, those episodes tended to be ones where Maya was playing support to Rileytown antics.

      Delete
    2. I think that's pretty neat, anon.

      Delete
    3. I might agree that it was cool, if the prism bit didn’t fall out of the straw-man “seeing is believing” stance with which they had saddled Farkle, having simultaneously presented his science as an alternative belief system for those afraid of the unknown.

      The more I am asked to think about this episode the less I like it. The human refraction imagery is surprisingly subtle given all that had transpired before. It might even have been effecting. But I wasn’t cutting this one any slack, and wasn’t looking for hidden meaning.

      It is not that hostile to the idea of the sacred. As I am posting this, I’m listening to 16th-century liturgical music, watching snow drift by my window, and otherwise thinking about the ineffable as best I can. I just really hate bad argument, and Belief was an episode of constant bad argument not salvaged by a bit of visual poetry at the end.

      Delete
    4. I gave it some more thought, and I agree with Sean, This kind of subtle story-telling is rather neat. It reminds me of the artwork displayed in "Creativity," which was another divisive episode. As I recall, Maya's piece of a closed door was contrasted to the board member's piece of an open door.

      I didn't even notice either example when I watched the episodes for the first time, and I usually go out of my way to try to find hidden meanings in what I watch and read.

      Come to think of it, the prism reminded me most of Quakerism. Which, given that Cory grew up in Pennsylvania, has a certain logic to it.

      Delete
  40. Hi, everybody.

    This is my first time posting anything on this blog, but I have been silently following its progress for a while now. I don't think I'll try to come up with a full play-by-play review of each episode, but I would like to put my two cents in every once in a while just because some of these episodes have me shouting at the television screen, whether it be positive or negative.

    I agree with Sean's assessment over absolutely everything concerning this episode. The moral lesson this show is essentially trying to spoon-feed to viewers is completely one-sided, and the characterization behind some of these choices is simply nonexistent.

    As a whole, I believe GMW's biggest problems concerning content are with the way Cory teaches ridiculous lessons to only four (sometimes five) students about subjects that have nothing to do with actual history. This might be the first episode in which I recall actually hearing the names of historical figures, events, or documents. Other issues I have with the show are mainly technical or directorial decisions that are just terrible in the name of good story-telling, such as the pacing of the episodes in which long stretches of awkward silence are used to set up jokes that really aren't funny and time allotment is skewed so that the main plotlines are never thoroughly explored leaving me feeling cheated of highly anticipated situations (Forgiveness comes to mind easily). Even the actors they use to portray some of the characters deliver lines so poorly that I am sneering at the television and rolling my eyes so hard that I'm flinging my head back and forth.

    Sometimes it's just hard to acknowledge that the same person who gave us BMW is churning out this garbage, though I suspect much of it has to do with pleasing DC and their audience.

    Just some observations rattling around in my head.

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    1. Hey, great to see another person come out of the shadows. I'm glad you liked the writeup, I put a lot of thought into it. And I like what you've got to say, especially about "technical and directorial decisions." Doesn't seem like anyone else around here (including myself and Christian) knows much about technicalities or directing, so that kind of comment really contributes a lot.

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    2. Thanks! I was always really involved in theater in both high school and college, and though television is very different in some ways, things like pacing, blocking, dialogue delivery, and overall tone are very important to both media. When things look unnatural, or a viewer is consciously aware that they are watching a program instead of being immersed in the story-telling, this is indication that something needs to change. My theater director always said that people should never be reminded that they are watching a production. Everything should have a natural flow to keep the audience engaged. This show lacks that forethought.

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  41. Loved the episode soooo much and am a Christian!!!! My little girl loved it too!!!

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